Getting Rid of Work-Related Neck Pain

If you spend most of your workday sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen, you’re likely familiar with neck pain. The angle of your neck while sitting hunched over puts strain on your cervical spine, leading to muscle tightness, spasms, and general discomfort. This type of neck pain related to poor posture is extremely common, especially among office workers. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent and alleviate this nuisance.

Evaluate Your Workstation Setup

The first place to start is by evaluating your workstation setup. Make sure your computer screen is at eye level so you’re not straining to look up or down at it. Your chair should be adjusted so your feet are flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to it. The back of the chair should support your lumbar spine. If needed, use a pillow or cushion for extra low back support. Additionally, your keyboard and mouse should be placed at a height so that your wrists and arms are in a neutral position while typing. If your current desk and chair setup isn’t ergonomic, talk to your employer about solutions, whether it’s raising your monitor or providing an ergonomic chair. An improper workstation setup causes you to sit in an uncomfortable, imbalanced position that tweaks your neck’s alignment.

Improve Your Posture

In addition to ergonomic equipment, you need to make a conscious effort to improve your sitting and standing posture throughout the workday. When sitting, refrain from leaning over your desk in a hunched position which strains the neck. Keep your ears aligned with your shoulders and avoid pushing your head forward. Get in the habit of sitting upright against your chair’s backrest. Use reminders like phone alerts to keep your posture in check. While standing, distribute your weight evenly on both feet rather than favoring one leg. Keep your chin level and look straight ahead rather than down at the floor. Stand tall with your shoulders back instead of slumped over. Make posture corrections whenever you notice yourself slipping into poor alignment.

Take Regular Breaks

One of the worst things you can do for neck pain is sitting in the same position for prolonged periods. Get up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour. Regular breaks prevent your muscles from getting stiff and your joints from getting immobile. Simple activities like walking around the office, refilling your water bottle, doing 10 jumping jacks, or using the bathroom are easy ways to give your neck a break from sustained postures. Set reminders on your phone or computer calendar so you don’t lose track of time. It may also help to set specific times for mini-breaks, such as at the top of each hour.

Stretch Your Neck

Complement your breaks with simple neck stretches right from your desk chair. Tilt your head gently to each side, bringing your ear toward your shoulder. Then tilt your head forward like a double chin and backward as if looking at the ceiling. Hold each direction for 10 seconds. You can do neck rolls as well by slowly rotating your head clockwise and counterclockwise. Stretching loosens tight neck muscles caused by sitting. Do a few rounds periodically throughout the day or whenever you start feeling neck stiffness coming on.

The bottom line is that neck pain caused by poor workstation ergonomics and posture is highly treatable with some simple adjustments. Implementing both prevention and management strategies can help rid you of theWorkspace strain and keep you pain-free even with long hours at the computer. By tuning in to your body’s signals and being proactive, you can avoid having to live with chronic neck pain.