Tips to Avoid Neck Pain

July 9, 2023

Chronic neck pain is highly prevalent among office workers today. Neck pain can last from days, to years, depending on the root issue. Common causes include poor posture, muscle strain and worn joints. What many don’t know is that there are simple, feasible steps to manage and improve your neck pain.

In this week’s Wellness Matters, we’ve provided some straightforward tips to mitigate your neck pain that you can implement today!

Practice Good Posture

One of the first key steps to alleviating muscle tension is practicing good posture. To ensure your posture is adequate;

  • Pull your shoulders back, keeping your back flat against your office chair
  • Plant your feet flat on the ground
  • Use proper chair/lumbar support to prevent slouching and keep your upper back straight
  • Use armrests to support elbow and wrist height

Rearrange Your Work Setup

Positioning your screen at eye-level is key to reduce neck pain while working. Asymmetric stress from holding your neck in an uncomfortable, turned position can contribute to further pain.

Furthermore, consider bringing your keyboard and mouse closer. The further you reach your arms, the more force your neck and shoulders are under to counteract and balance the poor postural position.

Use a Supportive Pillow While Sleeping

Ensure you have a comfortable and supportive pillow to reduce the likelihood of waking up with neck pain. Medium-firm pillows, rather than softer pillows, will help you avoid unnecessarily stretching your neck muscles while asleep. Firmer pillows “cradle your head and help your body stay in a neutral position and alignment while you sleep”.

Take Regular Breaks

Humans are designed to move around! Avoid sitting still at work for hours when possible. Take regular breaks every 20-30 minutes, standing up, moving, walking around, and stretching your muscles.

Avoid Strenuous Tasks

Tasks such as lifting, pulling, punching, repetitive bending and twisting can make your neck pain worse. If you are going through a period of intense muscular tension, avoid these tasks to prevent the problem from becoming worse.

Furthermore, carrying heavy bags with straps over your shoulder can strain your neck.

We hope these tips have been helpful. Reach out to a medical professional if your neck pain:

  • Is severe or getting worse
  • Persists for several days
  • Spreads down your arms or legs
  • Is accompanied by a headache, numbness, weakness or tingling

As always, please let us know if you have any feedback, or a topic you would like us to explore in the next Wellness Matters!

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