Overcoming nagging neck pain
The neck is a common source of pain and stiffness, with office workers particularly susceptible. Having poor posture, or long periods of inactivity can result in a predictable pain pattern that directly correlates with the time spent in work environment.
If you have found yourself thinking “my neck always hurts at the end of the day” or “long meetings are really uncomfortable”, it is possible that repetitive “microstrains” of the muscles and joints around your neck are responsible for your symptoms. These “microstrains”, caused by increased sitting still, poor posture and a poor work environment can then cumulate to form “nagging neck pain”.
Making some simple changes to your daily posturing, work and lifestyle habits can have a significant impact on minimising this cumulative strain on the neck and whole body, and here are some simple tips to keep you pain free in the office.
Motion is Lotion
Get up and move. There is significant research to support breaking up your sitting time into smaller chunks. We understand that to do your work it is important that you sit, but why not sit for 80 x 30min blocks per week, rather than 10 x 4hrs?
It is as simple as getting up for a drink or walking over to a colleague to make it a conversation not a phone call. A sit/stand desk is another great way to introduce regular movement into a typically sedentary environment.
Relaxed Reclined Posture
Have your chair back reclined to between 100 and 110 degrees. This posture allows the backrest of the chair to do most of the work, whilst gravity promotes the head falling into a nice “chin tucked” posture minimising the activity of the muscles in the neck, shoulders and lower back.
It is recommended that we all find 150 minutes of moderate intensity (huff and puff) exercise per week, whilst similar health benefits are also attained with 90 minutes of high intensity exercise (heavy breathing and sweating) per week. Variety in training to incorporate cardio, strength, endurance and flexibility will yield the greatest health benefits.