Back to work and already feeling the pain? As a chiropractor, I often see neck and back pain caused by poor posture, most commonly as a result of computer or mobile phone use. Here are a few simple exercises you can try to alleviate discomfort in your neck and back.
Maintaining good posture by sitting up straight is an important way to prevent pain. Many of us slouch without even realising it and this can put a lot of pressure on your neck and back. You can experience some immediate relief when you move from a slouching position to a straight position. Throughout the day, rotate your shoulders back. Hold for a few seconds, relax and repeat a few times to help train your body to stay straight.
Another exercise that feels great and can be done from either a sitting or standing position is to pull your arms backward and—with fingertips pointing down—rest them on your buttocks. Then try to pinch your shoulder blades together. Hold for a few seconds. Relax and repeat.
This exercise can be done sitting or standing. Look straight ahead. Now look down at the floor for a few seconds and then slowly up at the ceiling for a few seconds.
Return your head to a neutral positon and then turn your head very slowly to the right as far as you can. Hold for three seconds. Return your head to the centre and maintain this position for three seconds. Next, turn your head to the left and hold for three seconds. Finally, bring your head back to the centre.
Now tilt your head to the right and try to touch your right ear to your right shoulder without raising your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds. Relax and straighten your head. Then tilt your head to the left and try to touch your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat three or four times.
Sit up straight in a chair with your shoulders back. Pull your chin down toward your neck but keep looking straight in front of you. Hold this for five seconds and then return your head to a neutral position. Repeat ten times.
Tilt your chin up and turn your head slightly to the right side. Your chin should be lifted. Hold for 20 seconds. Now turn it slowly to the left, bringing your chin up as you look toward the ceiling. Hold again for 20 seconds. Don’t lift your shoulders as you turn. Do this exercise three times on each side.
Stand up and rest your hands on the back of your head. Pull your elbows back slightly while stretching out your spine. Your eyes should be looking ahead. Hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat five times.
Pain Prevention Methods
- Be conscious of your posture while seated at your desk. You should be sitting up straight and the keyboard should be placed so that your elbows are flexed at 90 degrees. Make sure your shoulders are back, and don’t slouch.
- Short periods of standing and walking throughout the day are beneficial. Get up from your desk once every 20 minutes. At a minimum, stretch or if possible, walk around your office for a few minutes. You could use this as an opportunity to get a glass of water so that you keep well hydrated throughout the day.
- Be mindful of how you position your head while on your phone or at your laptop, You may be bending your head forward and slouching while looking at screens without even realising it.
- Reposition your monitor. Raise or lower the monitor or your chair so your eyes are level with the top of the screen.
- Keep frequently used tools close. Keep your mouse nearby, use a headset when talking on the phone frequently, and use a document holder so that you don’t have to look down when typing.
- Use a chair that allows you to maintain the normal curves in your spine and try to avoid a chair with armrests. Raise or lower your chair so that you’re not sitting straight up at a 90-degree angle, but rather with a slightly reclined posture of 100 to 110 degrees. Ensure that your feet can easily touch the ground or use a foot stool if needed. Armrests can be restrictive to movement so try to use a chair without them.
- If possible create a sit/stand workstation. This type of workstation helps you to more easily change your position and reduce the risk of neck and back pain from long periods of restricted movement.
If you experience any neck or back pain, it’s important to get diagnosed and treated early before it becomes a chronic problem. For more information or assistance contact Lane Chiropractic at 6676 2270.