Neck pain can be the bane of our lives for regular computer users so we have thankfully got Veronica Swainson (Specialist Occupational Health Occupational Therapist) joining our team and here to share some simple tips to help you at work.
Here is what she had to say…
Neck pain is a common problem, in fact 2 out of 3 of us will report neck pain at some stage in our lives. Computers have revolutionised our workplace and eliminated many inefficient duties such as collecting the mail. The downside of this is that we can spend all day sitting at our desk typing away without a break. Our bodies are stuck in one fairly static position all day. It’s no wonder that when we get up to go home at the end of the day we end up feeling stiff and sore.
Here are 5 simple ways to avoid neck pain when working at the computer:
- Supportive Chair
Make sure that you have a chair with a seat that is long enough to provide support to your bottom and thighs without pressing on the back of your knees. A good chair should have a comfortable backrest supporting from the curve of your back to your shoulders.
- Sit tall
Remember to sit your bottom into the back of your chair seat and move your chair in close to the desk. This will enable you to make the most of the support from your seat and from your backrest. When sitting in your chair your hips should be slightly higher than your knees to support the curve of your lumbar spine. Your feet need to be flat on the ground or supported by a footrest. Your forearms should be parallel to the desk.
- Position your computer screen
Ensure that you are facing directly towards your computer screen and not twisted left or right. Sit within arm’s reach of your screen and with the top 1/4 of your screen at eye level.
- Move regularly
It can be difficult to always remember to get up and move around when you’re busy at work. So another way to build in a little bit of movement to your day is to do a little stretch after each block of work e.g. after reading a long email.
Firstly roll one shoulder then the other.
Followed up by lifting one hip and leg off the seat and then the other.
Finally complete a gentle neck tuck and gently turn your head from side to side.
- Stay hydrated
Keep a water bottle at your desk and drink small amounts regularly throughout the day.
When should you worry?
Most neck pain isn’t caused by anything sinister. However, if you have any of the following symptoms please get them checked out with your GP:
– You also have weakness, numbness or persistent pins and needles in your arms or hands
– The pain is getting worse rather than better
– You feel generally unwell, feverish or have rapidly lost or gained weight recently
– Other medical problems such as cancer, arthritis or a history of a recent accident
– The neck bones (rather than the muscles) are very tender
– You experience other symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, double vision, drop attacks or problems with your speech or swallow
Still can’t get comfortable at your desk?