Do you find yourself fighting against your sore neck after a long day in the office?
As much as 10% of the adult population is actually suffering from a stiff neck. That’s one out of every ten!
A neck, like a train crash, is by far the most common physical issue amongst us office workers. 8 or more hours sitting at your desk in front of that screen in the office leaves you feeling as if you just ran a marathon – but with your neck and shoulders instead of your legs…
Oh, the pain!
The fact is:
Our daily lives are not really lenient when it comes to escaping our work routines. And the magical solution of quitting your job and finding something “less sedentary” is aloof to the vast majority of us. You need to pay your bills, right?
So what can you do then?
Well, don’t panic! Where there is a problem, there is a solution!
Read on to discover the different reasons that might be causing you that upsetting neck pain.
But even better:
I will also give some pointers that might help you fix these annoying issues!
Let’s get to it:
Your Workspace Needs Adjustment!
This one is pretty obvious. Because after all, your beloved office is the place where you spend most hours of your day.
According to Erik Larsen from hometraininghero.com, the way your workplace is set up plays the most important part of whichever body ailment you have after hours spent in the office: “Having an ergonomic and healthy office set-up is one of the best preventive measures you can do to keep your posterior chain free from those life-defining pains”.
Here are a few aspects that you should pay special attention to when setting up your workspace:
The chair is as crucial for an office worker as proper running shoes are for the runner.
While at work, your butt will most likely spend a big part of the day glued to your chair. With this in mind, your chair must be adjusted appropriately to your body, desk, and screen:
Adjust the height of it in such a way that your feet are flatly placed on the floor without your hip going above the knee level. This will make you sit in the best position for your spine and will also prevent your shoulders from hunching.
You should also be able to adjust the seat to a position where the edge is placed firmly under your knees. Your lower back should form a 90-degree angle from your hips while gaining support from the back of the chair.
In other words, forcing your employer to get you a decent chair will improve not only your productivity, but also your overall health!
A poorly positioned screen can be the leading cause of your neck issues.
Think about it for a second:
If you watch a movie and slightly tilt your head to the side for some time, what happens?
One side of your neck gets sore and uncomfortable.
The same effect takes place if you spend all day dropping your head forward to look at a computer screen that is placed too low on your field of view…
Ideally, the top frame of your monitor should be leveled with your eyes. This will slowly relieve tension from your neck as your vision will be set at eye level.
If your screen does not have sufficient adjustment opportunities, something as simple as a few books can be used to get your monitor to the right height.
Adjusting your screen is as simple as brushing your teeth… No excuses!
Keyboard and Mouse
The height and distance at which these elements are placed is another essential factor when it comes to neck pain in office workers.
Just picture it:
When the keyboard is too high on your desk, your body will inevitably compensate by shrugging your shoulders. This will, in turn, cause neck soreness and spasms in the long run.
The ideal position is one in which your forearms are parallel to the floor, and your wrists don’t bend. If you use a laptop, it will be incredibly beneficial to get a separate keyboard and mouse.
Mixing Things up Will do Wonders For Your Stiff Neck
As you can see, little tweaks in your workspace could mean significant changes in the way your body responds to spending hours sitting in the office.
If you are still not sure about the right set up of your desk, please refer to the following link to get the exact measurements suited your body: https://www.ergotron.com/tools/workspace-planner.
You Are Stressing too Much!
We all suffer from it one way or another.
Life these days is not made for the faint-hearted!
- Bills to pay every month,
- the kids getting sick,
- the daily commute to work trapped in rush hour,
- your boss pushing you to deliver that report on… what was it again?
If this sounds familiar to you, chances are your poor neck and shoulders are feeling the tension.
So how do you deal with this?
To alleviate this tension, you may think I am going to suggest you go to a yoga retreat…
Well, that’s not the case:
Stress-relieving techniques are simple and can be practiced anywhere, even from your desk at work!
So let’s get down to business.
The first easy technique you can practice is tensing and relaxing your muscles.
Do it now.
Start from the very bottom of your body with your toes and go all the way up to your neck -muscle by muscle.
Do you feel it?
After some days of doing this, you should be able to identify the tense areas of your body and work separably on them.
Another way to stress down is to escape.
That is, mentally escape.
We all have our “happy place,” and it’s easier than you might think to go there…
Drift away to your happy place and stay there for a while… Sense the aromas around you, the sounds -but more than anything, embrace the feeling it gives you!
The third and last one you already do daily -breathing. But I want you to breathe deeply. Every time something gets out of hand, stop, and take three slow deep breaths.
Trust me, you will feel the difference!
Lack of Movement And Stretching
Okay. This is the part where I tell you to move.
You might have already guessed it was coming…
Your body is a machine that needs activity to keep the life juices flowing. Studies have shown that the best way to maintain good spinal health while being in the office is to change the position of your body consistently.
Consider it this way: What happens to a car that never moves?
Exactly! It progressively deteriorates, right?
Stand up from your desk and move every now and then. Walk around the office, go fill up your bottle in the water dispenser, -whatever it is, don’t stay put in that chair for 8 hours!
The best way to keep up with moving constantly is to set the alarm every 1 hour or so while at the office. Similarly, adding some stretching every time you get up from your chair will prove to be immensely beneficial for your neck’s health.
It couldn’t be easier. You don’t need a full yoga session to get some good neck stretches, keep it simple. Go ahead, try some right now:
- Do some shoulder rolls backward and then forward,
- with a straight back position tuck your chin in a couple of times,
- roll your head around your shoulders, making full circles to the right and then to the left.
Give these simple stretches a chance and your neck will forever be grateful to you.
To sum up, these are some of the possible causes that could be acting as the villains behind that annoying pain in the neck of yours.
And just like in any villain story, the hero needs to attack with full strength to conquer his arch enemy.
The pains will not vanish by its self, you will need to give it your all and fight it to get rid of it!
I have given you some tools to your toolbox, now your part of the work begins.
Start to apply these fixes in your daily life as soon as possible. Be disciplined, and you will both see and feel the results.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.
Hi Erin. Great post. Thanks for the tips. For me I just use podomodoro technique. 25 min work then 5 min break. During break I do deep breathing. I never experience stiff neck
There is definately a lot to learn about this topic.
I love all of the points you have made.
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I took hydrocodone for a long time because I had headaches and other pains, then I saw a post on the forum about hydrocodone addiction and realized that I have an addiction and need to do something about it. I went to the doctors and it turned out that because of my office work, I have problems with my neck and a headache because of this. Take care of your health and do not self-medicate, it is better to contact your doctor immediately.
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