I am lucky. I get this view in one form or another every day on my way to work. But for some people going to work means neck pain. Sometimes we get neck pain from being on our bike, but it continues to trouble us at work. Sometimes it seems to start at work for no particular reason, but may limit sports participation, or even make sleeping difficult.
Here are 5 tips to help out your neck pain. As always, if your pain persists or gets worse, seek medical advice. But doing some of these things may help your neck pain, or even just make you generally more efficient and more comfortable at work.
- Move more- Your body is made to move. In today’s modern world we tend to sit…A lot. 8 hours at the computer, on the phone or in meetings, the half hour commute in the car each way, sitting for dinner, reading or watching a movie. It adds up. Our tissues like movement. Our nerves like movement. Plan your day to add movement. Walk on your lunch break. Look at tasks that require you to move and mix them in. Take planned stand up and walk breaks during the day. If you have been sedentary outside of work add some fun movement off work. Go skiing in winter, go for a hike, work in your garden, go dancing. Whatever gets you moving and you enjoy.
- Do some simple exercises- This builds off the first point to help you move. Periodically doing neck and upper back specific movements can help decrease sensitivity in tissues that may not be moving well. A few simple ones pictured below are chin tucks, trap stretches, and shoulder blade pinches. There are others. Do what feels best. If something increases your pain more than temporarily, then have it looked at
- Eye Breaks- Our eyes get tired staring the same distance at a screen all day. When they get tired we can get extra tension in our head and neck and increase headaches and neck pain. Every 15 or 20 minutes, give them a break and focus at a point in the distance. Look out a window or focus on a point in the distance. If this continues to be an issue get your eyes checked.
- Check out your work space- Is the temperature ok? Is there a glare on your screen certain times a day? Can you adjust your chair so you can change postures when you need to? Are your keyboard, mouse, and monitor set in comfortable positions? Making sure your office is adapted to your comfort can help reduce unneeded stress on your body, make you more comfortable and more efficient.
- How is everything in the rest of your life?- Neck pain at work can be affected by other things too. Pain is influenced by sensitivity in our nervous system. A nervous system can be sensitized by things like poor sleep, stress, poor nutrition, worry, feeling down, and lack of activity. On the other hand, we can improve sensitivity with good sleep, fun meaningful activity, exercise, being outside, and doing things we like with people we enjoy. Look at the whole picture and see what things you can control.
These are some basic things that may help with neck pain at work and life in general. If you have looked at all these things and still have pain, or try these things and it continues, seek medical advice. Call your local PT today. Post in the comments is you have questions, You can get a hold of us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-949-9966 if you need some help.