Is Your Desk Job killing your Neck? Top 4 Quick Fixes to Help Stop the Pain
Almost all of us have experienced aches and pain after spending long hours hunched over our work desk. Making things worse, many people engaged in such desk jobs spend hours in their workstations with minimum body movement. It has been observed that individuals working a desk job are high-risk candidates for neck stiffness, soreness, and pain.
It is important to note here that the human body is not created to remain seated in a cramped position for long durations. However, the advent of today’s technology-based work culture requires many of us to spend at least eight hours a day in such a state. Mentioned below are some of the most common correlations between a desk job and neck pain.
1.Take Rest Breaks: Our back, neck, and shoulder undergo significant postural strain when we spend several hours sitting at the workstation. This results in the muscles around the shoulder girdle and spine becoming guarded or tense. When we continue working in the same posture, these muscles start getting fatigued. In order to compensate for the fatigued primary stabilizing muscles, the surrounding muscles start contracting. As a result, we experience muscle guarding and pain throughout the upper back region and neck.
In order to minimize postural strain, take short breaks to stretch and move around. While sitting, try to prevent slouching by adequately supporting the low back.
2. Improve Work Desk Ergonomics: This critical workstation component can contribute significantly to neck pain, if you do not adjust it properly. Desks that are too high will force you to elevate the hands, wrists, and forearms by slight shrugging of the shoulders. After some time, this will cause fatigued neck muscles and spasm. Tightening of the neck muscles may also translate to the suboccipital muscles located at the skull’s base, causing headache.
Desks that are too low are no good either because they require flexing of the trunk while working. With the trunk flexed forward, the neck also gets extended more than usual. Commonly referred to as forward head posture, this position leads to neck pain, headache, and muscle spasms by shortening of the suboccipital muscles.
Try to adjust the surface of your desk at a height that makes it easier for you to access the work surface with arms at your sides.
3. Adjust Height of Computer Monitor: This is a key factor leading to neck pain, for people that work on computers for long durations. Ideally, the monitor of your computer should be set at or marginally below the level of your eye so that the natural position of the spine is maintained.
4. Get a Better Chair: Individuals that work mostly in sitting position must invest in an ergonomic office chair offering proper postural support and adjustability. Please make sure that your chair has a full back extending from the chair’s seat to your shoulder or even higher. This will ensure adequate low back support, preventing slouching that can easily lead to a forward head posture. The chair’s arms should be able to support your elbows’ natural position.