Is work wreaking havoc on your neck, shoulders & spine?
This month, Rebecca shares some practical tips on how to reduce your pain at work and stop technology wreaking havoc on your neck, shoulders and spine.
With so many of us spending our time glued to phones and laptops, it is little wonder that one in four of us suffers from work-related neck or shoulder blade pain.
Are you sitting comfortably?
It’s easy to forget about your posture when you are working to a deadline or just plain busy. Whilst sitting too low at a desk causes overloading of the shoulder muscles as the arms are lifted up to reach the keyboard, sitting too high means the shoulders will be hunched forward causing pain. Top tip: Ensure that the top of your screen is at eye level. Sit with your back reclined backwards, approximately 30 to 35 degrees back from the vertical position, with your elbows close to your body, rather than with arms outstretched, or lifted up to reach the keyboard. Thighs, forearms and hands should be parallel with the floor. Your chair must always be pulled in under the desk, so that your forearms can rest on the desk edge.
Is the phone putting your posture under pressure?
We are probably all guilty of speaking on the phone with the receiver cradled awkwardly between our neck and shoulder, whilst typing or writing. This puts an extremely high load on our neck and upper back and should be avoided at all costs. Top tip: If you use a telephone regularly at work, ask your employer to provide a headset for your phone, keeping your hands free.
Laptop vs workstation
Although laptops have freed up many desk-bound workers, their design has proved disastrous for our bodies, leading to almost certain future spinal pain.Top tip: If you are working on a laptop for long periods, we advise you use a detachable keyboard and stable work surface, so that your forearms are rested on the edge of your desk. Try to avoid bad habits such as working with your laptop on your knee or on the arm of the sofa whilst watching TV.
‘Text neck’: a major cause of neck injury
‘Text neck’ is a type of neck pain caused by our addiction to mobile phones, tablets and other mobile devices. Many of us hold our phones around waist-level, causing us to have to peer down to text or email. These unnatural positions are very bad for our necks, causing pinched nerves, compressed and herniated discs.Top tip: To avoid ‘text neck’ and encourage good posture, we recommend you rest your elbows on your lower ribs and hold your mobile device just below eye level.
Take a break
Although sometimes easier said than done, we recommend you get up and move around more during the day and don’t forget to take regular breaks from your desk and your devices.
Get rid of neck and shoulder pain
It’s wrong to think that this pain is due to the normal ageing process. If you have tried improving your workstation posture to no avail, then it’s time to seek professional help from one of our experienced physiotherapists. You do not need a referral from your doctor to see us, you can come directly.
Take action now; Apex Clinic will help you treat and beat work and technology related pain.