Neck pain is an extremely common complaint among desk workers. Sustained static postures can overload the joints, discs and associated muscles in the neck and upper back. Poor posture increases the likelihood of pain. Headaches commonly occur as pain from the upper neck refers into the base of the skull, forehead and temple areas.
So what can you do to minimize the chances of postural neck pain and headaches?
- Use of good quality office chair with adequate lumbar (low back) support.
- Take advantage of the support your chair provides. To do this sit in good upright posture with your back in contact with the back support.
- Your thighs should be horizontal or knees slightly below hips, feet flat on the floor. A footrest may be required to achieve this.
- Ensure your workstation and monitor are at the correct height. When sitting upright your eyes should meet the monitor screen somewhere in its top one third. Your monitor should be approximately an arm’s length from you when sitting upright.
- With your elbows by your side, your keyboard and mouse should be within easy reach.
- Check you posture regularly and correct if necessary. A computer reminder can be useful.
- Take regular breaks from your workstation. Try to factor in some walks or tasks which take you away from your desk on a regular basis.
- Avoid using laptops for extended periods unless they are positioned appropriately using an ergonomic stand.
- Monitor your posture when using your tablet and smart phone.
What should you do if you have neck pain and headaches?
- Try to correct any poor postures which may be a contributing factor.
- Monitor stress levels. Many of us hold tension in our neck and upper back muscles contributing to pain in this area.
- Move around regularly at work and regularly participate in a sport or leisure activity which gets you moving in a pain free manner.
- Seek help from you physiotherapist.
At Keperra Physiotherapist and Sports Injury Clinic an initial consultation will involve a hands-on assessment of your neck and upper back joints and muscles to detect joint stiffness, muscle tightness and weakness. We will question you to ascertain which workplace and lifestyle factors may be contributing to your pain and advise how you can rectify them.
We use a combination of techniques including joint mobilizations and mobilizations with movement to relieve joint stiffness, massage, dry needling, stretches and muscle releases to relieve muscular tightness. Postural correction and graduated strengthening programmes are used to prevent recurrence.