“Up to 63% of office workers experience neck pain at some point each year.”
- Cote et al., 2008.
Neck pain in office workers not only has an effect on the individual; but it also has an effect on employers, productivity, workers compensation claims and quality of life.
So how can the staff at Total Physiotherapy help?
Research shows that an exercise program which is designed to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the neck and shoulder region helps reduce neck pain. Ergonomic adjustments such as the type of mouse, arm support, computer angle and chair height can reduce neck pain however these adjustments should be discussed and altered with the help of your physiotherapist. Taking short, regular breaks at work can reduce muscle tension. Short breaks every 20-30 minutes that allow you to stretch your neck, back and arms can be extremely effective for both your body and mind. We advise that after each hour, get out of your chair to walk around or change tasks for 5-10 minutes.
Examples of Exercises:
- Neck retraction—Have neck and shoulders in a neutral position with fingertips gently resting on chin;
- Push chin inwards to retract.
- Shoulder retraction—Draw shoulders back and down (as arrows suggest) without extending through low back.
- Fly’s on foam roller—Hold weights with arms extended; keep elbows straight and bring arms out to the side without letting low back arch off the foam roller.
- Chest press on foam roller—Holding weights: bend and extend arms.
+ Hips back as far as possible.
+ Adjust back support to curve of back.
+ Feet flat on floor or step.
+ Directly in front.
+ Position to allow relaxed shoulders, wrists slightly lower than elbows and hands and wrists straight (a wrist rest might help).
+ Screen centred directly in front.
+ Eyes level with top of screen.
+ Use document holder if possible.
Take a Break
+ Take short breaks to stretch and adjust neck, back and arms every 20 – 30 minutes.
+ After each hour, get out of your chair to walk around or change tasks for 5-10 minutes.
+ Remember that breaks can be the hardest part! Here is a guide to some handy apps to build them into your day: Big Stretch Reminder (http://monkeymatt.com/bigstretch),Work Rave (http://www.workrave.org/), Stretchly (https://hovancik.net/stretchly/)
It’s worth a try!