7 Effective Ways to Help You With Neck Pain at Work
Like most 9-5 employees, if you spend a significant portion of your day at a desk, you are more likely to go home with neck and back pain every night.
While there are many reasons for this, sitting long hours in your office chair is definitely one.
As a result, the chances of developing a poor posture increase, leading to neck pain at work. You might often twitch and squirm after sitting long hours before your computer.
Obviously, you can't just shut down your computer and walk away from your work. You can try to identify the cause of your neck pain and adopt measures to relieve the pain.
What Causes Neck Pain at Work?
Neck pain is very common, affecting one out of every three persons. It affects more women than men and your chances of getting it rise as you become older. Your neck is prone to injuries and diseases that cause discomfort and impede movement since it is flexible and carries the weight of your head.
Neck muscles are strained by bad posture, which can result from slouching over a workbench or hunching over a computer.
Causes of Neck Discomfort Include:
Muscle strains: Sometimes caused by overuse, such as spending too much time slumped over a computer or smartphone. Neck muscles can be strained by even small activities like reading in bed or gritting your teeth.
Worn joints: Like the rest of your body's joints, your neck joints deteriorate as you get older. The cushions (cartilage) between your bones become worn out due to osteoarthritis (vertebrae). As a result, bone spurs form, restricting joint movement and creating pain.
Compression of nerves: Nerves spreading out from the spinal cord might be compressed by herniated discs or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck.
Injuries: Whiplash is a type of injury that happens when the head is jerked backward and then forward, putting strain on the neck's soft tissues.
Diseases: Neck discomfort can be caused by disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer.
7 Ways to Reduce Back and Neck Pain at Work
The good news is that neck discomfort and stiffness may be relieved with exercises (that you can perform at your desk!). You can warm up your neck muscles by putting a heating pad on your neck for a few minutes before beginning the exercises.
Now, let's look at a few ways to relieve neck pain.
1. Maintain Proper Posture.
Your feet should be flat on the floor, your back should be flush against the chair, and your head should be straight.
Your head should be straight and in a neutral position, with ears directly above your shoulders.
Adjust your chair's height so that your thighs bend down slightly.
Don’t round your lower back, as that might cause your head and shoulders to lean forward.
This posture distributes your weight evenly across your sit bones, which are located on the bottom regions of your hips.
Suggested Read: How To Develop A Proper Sitting Posture At The Office
2. Heighten the Display and Relocate the Keyboard.
Place your computer monitor in front of you, with the screen's center on the same level as your nose. If the screen is set too low, your head will be angled downward, putting more strain on your neck.
When typing, place the keyboard near your body to bend your elbows around a 90-degree angle. Set the keyboard at a height where you won't have to stoop through your shoulders to reach the keys. The mouse should be at the same level as the keyboard.
3. Make a Standing Desk.
Although sitting in an office chair appears simple, it can be exhausting. The longer you sit, the more difficult it becomes to maintain a steady posture. So, try to spend at least an hour or two each day on your feet instead of sitting in a chair.
Using a standing desk is one common solution. If a standing desk is not an option for you, you can use desktop converters, and it will allow you to maintain your current workstation while temporarily converting it to a standup desk.
4. Use your Phone's Screen Sparingly.
When staring at phones and tablets, especially when texting or emailing, people tend to lean their necks forward even more. Long durations of staring down at your phone can cause muscular strains in the short term and disc or joint problems in the long run.
Neck pain caused by lowering your head to look at a smartphone screen is known as "text neck".
If possible, answer emails on a desktop computer rather than on your phone, providing the best opportunity for proper posture.
5. Take a Walk.
Every half-hour, take a walk around the workplace to lessen the chances of back, neck, and shoulder pain from sitting. It might also help you when you feel any achiness or tightness around your neck and back.
Setting a quiet alarm on your smartphone to go off every 30 minutes is an easy method to achieve this. Even if you can't get up every time the alarm goes off, it may be a helpful reminder that you've been sitting for a long time, especially if you skip the notice several times.
And if there is an urgent meeting that you can’t avoid, you can try the walking meeting with your team. It will help not only you but your team too.
6. Obtain a Gadget
Sometimes, it’s tough to remember to sit up straight, especially if you have the habit of slouching.
Fortunately, there are a variety of innovative gadgets that can serve as reminders. One of which is a smart posture trainer and corrector strack.
Strack smart posture trainer and corrector is a biofeedback-based wearable posture corrector that vibrates anytime you slouch and ensures good posture. Its iOS and Android apps allow you to track your daily, weekly, and monthly posture progress.
You can experiment with low-tech equipment:
A posture brace can assist you in strengthening the back and shoulder muscles.
A lumbar support cushion can help with lower back discomfort. While sitting at your workstation, place it between your back and chair.
7. Consult with a Physical Therapist
If you're suffering from persistent back and neck discomfort, you should first attempt non-invasive treatments. And if the pain continues for more than a week, you must consult a doctor.
When to See a Doctor?
The majority of neck discomfort improves over time with home therapy. However, if this is not the case, consult your physician immediately.
If you have significant neck discomfort due to an injury, such as a car accident, diving accident, or a fall, get medical help.
See a doctor if you have:
- Severe neck pain
- A lump in your neck
- Persists for several days without relief
- Swollen glands
- Tingling sensation around the neck
- Throbbing pain in your arms or legs
- Inability to touch your chin to your chest
Many oral and topical drugs are available to reduce back and neck pain and discomfort. These drugs can be prescribed or bought over the counter:
- NSAIDs- Ibuprofen, Naproxen
- Acetaminophen- Tylenol
- Antidepressants- Duloxetine and Amitriptyline (Antidepressants are available only by prescription)
- Anticonvulsants- Gabapentin (e.g. Neurontin) and Pregabalin (e.g. Lyrica) (Anticonvulsants are available by prescription only.)
- Muscle relaxants- Cyclobenzaprine (are available by prescription only)
- Opioids- Hydrocodone, Tramadol, and Oxycodone (are available by prescription only)
- Oral steroids- Methylprednisolone and Prednisone.
All drugs have side effects, even over-the-counter ones. A doctor can help you decide which medicines are best for your illness, symptom(s), or kind of pain.
Topical Pain Relieves:
Creams, gels, and patches applied to the skin are examples of topical pain relievers.
- Topical diclofenac
- Trolamine salicylate
Because certain topical pain medicines might irritate, it's always good to test them on a tiny skin patch first. Some people may be allergic to the components or have a sensitivity to them.
Even if you have a thorough treatment plan, you should still adhere to the other recommendations. Maintaining a balanced body posture and standing regularly will help you feel better more quickly.
These suggestions can benefit employee health and everyone who uses a computer. Even if you don't work at a desk for eight hours a day, you may benefit from these suggestions. Because at the end of the day, everyone benefits from proper posture!
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