What is neck pain? How exactly does neck pain occur?
Having a sore neck or experiencing neck pain is a discomfort from the base of the skull, that radiates to the upper part of the back and even extend sideways to the shoulder region. It is one of the most prevalent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs), a group of injuries related to the bones, muscles and soft tissues, associated with occupational risk factors. The prevalence and incidence of neck pain has been steadily rising, corresponding to the rise of computer use.
What causes it?
Be it for work or recreation, prolonged computer use is often considered to be a main cause of neck pain. For people who spend a great deal of time using computers, neck pain is a common problem.
But if your work doesn’t permit putting your systems away, here are 6 tips that can help you in a big way to ease the pain in your neck:
1. Adjust your screen level
If you are slouching or jutting your neck while reading this, then this is the first thing you need to address – adjusting your screen level. Raise or lower your screen or adjust your chair so that your eyes are in level with the top of the screen. If you are using a laptop, linking it with a larger monitor will help you make this adjustment.
2. Adopt better back posture
Proper posture is extremely important in preventing neck pain. With the right sitting posture, the muscles of your back can effectively support the weight of your head and neck. To do this, find a chair with a curve that supports your natural spine curvature and ensure that your lower back touches the back of the chair while sitting down.
At Fitness First Hong Kong, our Certified Fitness Coaches can take you through stretches and exercises that will improve your posture. They will also encourage a safe range for you to train at, depending on your current mobility, to ensure you get maximum results safely.
3. Improve leg positioning
The goal is to ensure that both your feet touch the ground. Consider using a stool if you've elevated your chair and your feet can no longer reach the ground. Maintain a 5-10 centimetres between the back of your knees and the chair.
4. Keep tools close to you
Ensure that your mouse, keyboard and other frequently used tools are positioned within the limit of your arm reach. Keep them close where you don’t have to bend over every time you reach for them.
5. Relax your shoulders
If your desk is too high, you will compensate by shrugging your shoulders slightly to elevate your forearms, wrists, and hands to the appropriate level. After a while, your neck muscles will start to fatigue and ultimately give rise to spasm. Consider lowering or getting rid of the armrests so that your neck and shoulders can relax downward
6. Get up
Set a timer and get up every 30 minutes. Do simple stretching exercises and walk around for a while to get rid of the accumulated strain in your back and neck. You can even try to follow the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, give your eyes a 20-second break by focusing on something at least 20 feet (6 meters) away.
These are some very doable tips that can help reduce your neck pain, optimise your work station and ultimately increase your productivity and aid in your wellbeing. If your neck pain still persists, please consult your doctor for further suitable treatments.