Are you suffering with neck /upper back pain?
With this new era of isolation and with advice to work from home, many of us are sitting for long periods at a table or desk which has not been set up ergonomically.
We are also spending more time on our phone or iPad causing what is termed as “text neck.”
Causes of Postural neck and upper back pain.
Computer work. When we are sitting at the desk or table, our head is often held in a forward position (chin poke) with rounded shoulders, often caused by slumping in the chair or sitting in a slouched position.
Text neck This is neck pain arising due to overuse of handheld mobile devices, whether it be your phone or tablet. Many of us are spending longer time on our devices searching the internet and using social media, often with the head in a dropped position.
Reading, jigsaws, baking, and board games. Do you hold your head down during any of these enjoyable pastimes?
If you perform any of these activities as described, it means the weight of our head is being supported by the wrong part of the neck, causing strain on the neck joints and muscles.
If the forward head position is maintained for long periods of time, symptoms can include:
- Neck, and upper back pain.
- Aches across the shoulders.
- Tingling in the crux of the neck.
- Neck stiffness.
- Headaches, particularly from the base of the skull and over the head.
- Overloading of the muscles in the neck, shoulders and upper back, causing muscular tension.
Self-help advice to avoid pain from sitting whilst working from home:
- Avoid slouching or sitting in a slumped position with the head in a protruded position. Sit in an upright position with your lower back supported.
- Change the position of the computer for example;
- If the computer is too low, raise it up using boxes or files.
- Ensure the computer is straight ahead and not to the side forcing you to turn and hold the head to the side.
- Position the printer or telephone on the other side of the room to ensure you regularly get up from the chair.
- Have regular breaks. Stand and walk around the room, preferably for 5 minutes every hour. This could be when taking a phone call.
- Take frequent breaks if using a handheld device.
- Hold any handheld device in a position which reduces strain on the neck, for example, holding the screen closer towards eye level, by bending from the elbows.
In addition to the neck exercises in the links below, despite the lockdown, try to maintain your fitness, especially around your upper back muscles. And don’t forget your daily walk – and make sure you ‘Walk Tall!’.
If you do have symptoms from either text neck or a poor sitting posture, there are also other ways to help:
- Perform regular neck exercises (see below).
- Use heat packs over the sore muscles.
- Self-massage, for example, using a foam roller or tennis balls.