Don’t let work be a pain in your neck
With a staggering 1 in 4 people suffering from work related neck pain, shoulder blade pain or arm pain, Rebecca Nelson, Apex Clinic Founder and Spinal & Headache Physiotherapy Specialist, shares some essential top tips to help prevent technology causing you long-term pain.
Posture is paramount
In a hectic office environment, it’s easy to forget about the posture we adopt, but its importance is paramount. Many of us are guilty of spending eight hours a day at our desks, with our bodies in a slumped C shape, which can play havoc on our neck, shoulders and whole spine. Finding the correct position is essential. Sitting too low at a desk causes overloading of the shoulder muscles, leaving the arms reaching too high for the keyboard. Likewise, sitting too high hunches the shoulders forward, causing pain in the process.
Top tip: Ensure the middle of your monitor is at eye level or just below, and sit with your back reclined backwards, at an angle of approximately 30 to 35 degrees from the vertical, to reduce the load on your spine. Position your elbows close to your body so that your arms are not outstretched, with your thighs, forearms and hands positioned roughly parallel with the floor. Keep your chair pulled under your desk so that your forearms can rest comfortably on the desk’s edge. Furthermore, taking breaks is essential, so get up and move around away from your desk and devices for approximately 5 minutes every 30 minutes.
Consider your working environment
While laptops offer the freedom and ability to work on the move, their design has proved disastrous for our posture, and the result is potential future spinal pain.
Top tip: If your job requires you to work from a laptop rather than a PC, we recommend using a detachable keyboard. Resist the urge to work on the sofa with your laptop on your knee, choosing a stable work surface such as a table or desk and follow our posture tips above to keep your neck, spine and shoulders happy.
Multitasking while on the phone is commonplace, but sitting with the phone cradled awkwardly between your neck and shoulder, whilst typing or writing is disastrous for your neck, overstretching it on one side and over compressing it on the other side. This will almost certainly lead to pain.
Top tip: If your job requires frequent, long phone calls, ask your employer to provide you with a headset for your phone, freeing your arms for typing or writing.
The ‘text-neck’ trend is real
The ability to text, email and connect to the internet on-the-go comes at the expense of developing future spinal pain, due to the hunched posture adopted while using a mobile phone. Research suggests that smartphone users spend an average of four hours a day staring at their device, resulting in up to 1,400 hours a year of excess stresses on the spine. While we are all susceptible to this epidemic, this is potentially damaging for children and teenagers, as well as adults, with potential serious conditions resulting such as trapped nerves and herniated discs.
Top tip: To avoid the ‘text neck’ epidemic, we recommend adopting a better posture when texting, by resting both elbows just below your ribs and holding the device just below eye level.
Get rid of neck and shoulder or arm pain for good
It is wrong to assume that this pain is due to the normal ageing process. In the majority of cases, this pain CAN be cleared with the correct treatment regime allowing you to feel pain-free again. To book an appointment with our experienced physiotherapists call: 028 9048 4153. No GP referral is necessary.