Easy At-Work Stretches for Neck Pain and Back Pain

Preventing Neck Pain at Work

Learning the proper way to sit at a computer or lift a box can help prevent neck pain while you're on the job.

By Chris Iliades, MD

Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

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Neck pain can be caused by any activity that strains your neck. You might feel pain at the base of your skull and down into your shoulders, or you might feel a knot in your neck or get a stiff neck. You may also develop a headache. Serious neck pain can limit your ability to move your head and become severe enough to limit your ability to do your job.

Stiff Neck: Why Your Job Gives You a Pain in the Neck

If your neck pain is worse at the end of the work day, it might be related to stress placed on your neck while working. Repeated, prolonged activities that affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints cause most neck pain. Examples of these types of activities include:

  • Holding your head forward to read a computer screen; research shows that just using a computer for a prolonged period of time can cause or aggravate neck pain.
  • Repetitive movements of your arms and upper body.
  • Poor lifting techniques — if you do any heavy lifting at work, your neck is at risk for damage almost as much as your back.

Stiff Neck: Ergonomics at Work

No matter what your job is, ergonomics can help you protect your neck. Ergonomics is the science of fitting your work environment to your job in a way that is best for your well-being. If you work at a computer station, ergonomics takes into consideration how your desk, chair, and computer monitor can be placed to lessen the stress on your neck. If you work in an industrial setting, ergonomics may involve training you in proper techniques for lifting and using heavy equipment.

The key to protecting your neck is to keep your head and neck in a neutral position that maintains the natural curve of your cervical spine. Your cervical spine is the part of your spine that supports your head.

Achieve better ergonomics on the job with these tips:

  • Adapt your workstation.Adjust your chair so that your computer screen is at eye level and directly in front of you. Your elbows should be resting on an adjustable armrest and your arms should reach your keyboard comfortably. Your feet should be flat on the floor and the back of your chair should be in an upright position. You should be able to read your computer screen without craning your neck forward.
  • Lift the right way.If you must lift heavy objects at your job, protect your cervical spine by standing close to the object you need to lift. Bend at your hips and knees. Let the big muscles of your hips and legs do the work. Hold objects close to your body. Don't pivot or twist from side to side. If an object is too heavy, ask for help.
  • Maintain good body mechanics.If you're in a meeting, sit up front and center so that you don't have to twist or lean forward to hear or see. If you talk on the phone, avoid cradling the phone between your ear and neck. Use an ergonomically designed neck cradle, a headset, or the speaker phone as much as possible. Always maintain good posture.
  • Take a break to stretch.Avoid staying in one position for long periods. Get up frequently and stretch the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Relax your arms and roll your shoulders in a circular motion. Gently roll your head from side to side, feeling the muscles in your neck and back stretch and relax.

Stiff Neck: Getting Help

If you are having difficulty arranging or managing your workplace in a way that prevents neck pain, talk to your boss about making changes that will help you.

If you still need help, the provides guidelines for ergonomics in the workplace and enforcement if ergonomic standards are not being met.

Knowing what causes neck pain at work can go a long way toward preventing it. Make the effort to arrange your work area to minimize strain on your neck. Remember that you have a right to a work environment that is safe and promotes your well-being.

Video: Neck Pain Relief Video! Stretches to relieve Tension and Stress in Your Upper Back and Neck

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Date: 10.12.2018, 16:41 / Views: 91185