Is work really a pain in the neck?
With one in four people suffering from work related neck or shoulder blade pain, this month Rebecca Nelson, Apex Clinic founder and Spinal and Headache Physiotherapy Specialist offers some much needed practical tips to reduce your pain at work.
Technology advances have been tremendous in recent years but what many do not realise is the effects that it is having on our necks, shoulders and spine.
Posture is paramount
Top tip number one is all about posture.Sadly many of us are guilty of slouching at our desks, contouring our body into a slumped C shape. Finding a kind position for your spine is vital! Sitting with your desk too high causes overloading of the shoulder muscles as the arms have to reach upwards to the keyboard. Sitting with your desk too low is equally as damaging as our shoulders are hunched forward.
As a golden rule, the middle of your monitor should be at eye-level. Secondly, to avoid your back becoming loaded, the optimum angle of your chair should be reclined backwards to 30 to 35 degrees. Keep your elbows close to your body rather than outstretched and thighs, forearms and hands should be almost parallel with the floor. Pull your chair under your desk, resting your forearms on the edge of the desk.
While laptops offer the freedom and ability to work on the move, they come with a cost of almost certain future spinal pain.
If you are required to work from a laptop rather than a PC, we recommend using a detachable keyboard and working at a stable work station such as a desk or table. Follow our ‘Posture is paramount’ tips to ensure you are sitting comfortably and avoid bad habits such as working with your laptop on your knee.
On the telephone
If your job demands a lot of time speaking to clients on the telephone, avoid cradling the phone awkwardly between your neck and shoulder while multitasking as this puts a high load on your neck and upper back. Ask your employer for a headset to keep your hands free for typing or writing.
Take a break
We’re all guilty of working hours on end to meet deadlines but the importance of taking breaks has never been greater. Get up, move around and take regular movement breaks away from your desk and devices.
The ‘text-neck’ trend is rising
Our mobile devices mean we can text and email on-the-go but at the expense of developing future spinal pain. The text-neck epidemic is a type of pain caused by the posture we adopt when using our mobile phones. Smartphone users now spend on average two to four hours per day with their heads dropped down, which has major implications on their necks, including pinched nerves and compressed and herniated discs.
When using your phone, adopt a better posture by resting both elbows just below your ribs and hold the device just below eye level.
If you suffer from a painful neck, shoulders or spine and need more than just advice, it’s time to seek professional help from one of our experienced physiotherapists to clear your pain.
To book an appointment, call Apex Clinic on: 028 9048 4153.