You might continue slouching despite repeated reminders of its adverse effects. This is because you are too preoccupied with your desk jobs to notice how long it has been since you adopted an awkward posture until you begin to experience pain in your neck and shoulders. Once that happens, you start to feel stiff, but you push through it until it becomes chronic and challenging to control.
Workplace neck and shoulder aches and pains, including the conditions known as tech neck, text neck, tension neck syndrome, and repetitive strain injury (RSI), are frequently caused by prolonged, repeated, or inappropriate postures and movements. Since many workers use computers and phones more often during the day, these problems are becoming more common. As the name suggests, tech neck is a problem that develops from using electronics and computers too much. This condition can cause neck pain by overstretching the muscles that support the neck and other connected tissues. A related problem known as text neck can develop if you spend hours staring at your phone or other electronic devices. Tension neck syndrome is pain, stiffness, and trapezius muscular tenderness. Finally, RSI, also known as work-related upper limb disorder or non-specific upper limb pain, is a term used to refer to the pain experienced in the muscles, nerves, and tendons as a result of repetitive motion and overuse, as well as incorrect or prolonged restricted posture. It is a grouping of all of these conditions.
3 COMMON FAULTY POSTURAL PRACTICES AT WORK THAT CAN LEAD TO NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN AND WAYS TO FIX THEM
1. Sitting incorrectly while using a computer or a mobile device
Your neck and shoulders may experience tension if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or frequently glance down at your phone. You’ll likely adopt a forward-head position with rounded shoulders and upper back. This is bad because it moves your centre of gravity forward, which requires your neck, back, and shoulder muscles to work a little harder to maintain a healthy position for your head and upper back. If they don’t, they’ll become strained and give you neck discomfort. Keep in mind that for every inch your ten-pound head extends forward, the strain and burden on your neck and shoulders increases by ten pounds! ”
Solution: Maintain a comfortable, pulled-up posture with your shoulders, an open chest, and your head level with your ears and in line with your shoulders. Additionally, the following suggestions could assist in improving your desk-sitting ergonomics:
- Support your lower back while sitting.
- Lean your upper back against the chair’s backrest.
- Maintain your seat height so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the floor when you are typing.
2. Staring at an improperly positioned computer.
The neck, upper back, and shoulders may experience severe strain if the computer screen is set excessively high or low. When we are standing or sitting, the weight of our head ranges from 10 to 12 pounds on average to as much as 27 to 40 pounds when we bend our necks more forward. Accordingly, the more forward flexion we have in our heads, the more strain we put on our neck, spine, and shoulders. In addition, when posture is poor, our muscles must constantly exert more effort than necessary to hold our heads in a neutral position. This can cause muscle strains, spasms, and even the emergence of trigger points, sometimes known as “muscle knots.” The same is true if we lean back when looking at a monitor that is too high. By doing this, we run the risk of compressing the spinal discs at the neck and upper body level, which would cause the neck, upper shoulders muscles, and between or behind the shoulder blades to contract to support the weight.
Solution: Place your computer screen so that your arm’s length away from it and your eyes are level with the top of the screen. To avoid looking down all the time while using a laptop, place the device and keyboard on an elevated surface that resembles a desktop.
3. Moving less often than you should while seated at your desk.
It is simple to become confined and stuck at our desks when producing reports, taking calls, and performing other internet tasks until you realize that hours have passed and you haven’t moved all day! In addition, long periods spent in one place might result in discomfort and injury.
Solution: Schedule relaxation periods and frequently stretch your shoulders, upper back, and neck during the day. You could practice these stretches, for instance:
- Neck range of motion: look up and down, bend to each side, and twist to each side. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds.
- Shoulder stretches and range-of-motion exercises: perform shoulder shrugs and circles; try to reach the opposite shoulder blade with your hand while raising one arm above shoulder level. Hold the light stretch for 15 seconds.
- Chin tucks: sit with your chin tucked and your ears positioned squarely over your shoulders. Pull the chin and the head straight back until a significant stretch is felt at the top of the neck and the base of the head. Before moving the chin back to the beginning position, hold for 6 seconds.
- Pec stretch with hands behind the head: clasp both hands behind the head, bringing the elbows back as far as they will go while maintaining a straight spine and squeezing the shoulder blades together. Take a 6-second hold.
- Pec stretch with arms behind back: clasp both hands behind the back, then bring both elbows to close together as far as possible. Hold for 6 seconds.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP
If your discomfort persists, make an appointment with your doctor or think about speaking to an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist. You have access to a variety of therapies to assist you in getting rid of neck and shoulder pain brought on by too much time spent sitting or standing still.