You could argue that the human body hasn’t always evolved in the best ways for contemporary life. The adaptations necessary for modern office and communications equipment have had only two generations to incorporate themselves. Even then, our tech changes so frequently, our bodies have a moving target for which to aim.
That’s one of the reasons office work is a pain in the neck. Where once the typing stations were over here, filing cabinets over there, and the mailroom on another floor entirely, all of these functions now exist with the keyboard and monitor in front of you. Convenient, yes, but it opens up a range of ergonomic challenges that take a toll on your body, even when you’re sitting still.
When neck pain from office work starts to interfere with daily living, schedule a visit with Dr. Rudy Malayil and our team at Pain Management 360 in Huntington, Hurricane, and Charleston, West Virginia. We specialize in treating neck pain, regardless of the cause, be it office work, injury, or another condition.
It’s not surprising that one of the most common causes of neck pain is unbalanced posture, and it follows that any situation that interferes with achieving good posture is a potential source of neck pain. Office work presents a number of ergonomic challenges, many of which can add strain to the forces your neck bears.
Long hours of sitting may start with a healthy, upright posture, but as you become engrossed in your work, attention to your sitting position tends to vanish. The same holds true with static standing positions. While remaining in one position to complete multiple tasks may seem efficient, your body is meant to move, and your neck frequently pays the price when you’re not mobile.
Your head is about the weight of a bowling ball, and to support that load, your spine has front-to-back curves to carry the mass of your head over your center of gravity. When you bend your neck forward, such as when viewing a smartphone or tablet, the bones of your cervical spine and their support tissues need to work overtime to absorb the out-of-balance weight.
Countering the effects of office work on your neck takes some planning. Ergonomic workstations are a good start when your company supplies these, but they can’t do all the work themselves. It’s important to add posture resets, position changes, and movement into your day to the point where these become habits.
Consider these tips and tricks to help you stay on top of your posture.
Chances are, when you think of good sitting posture, it’s a straight-up position. That may be fine for a hard kitchen chair for short durations, but if you have an ergonomic office chair with good lumbar support, leaning back sets up a supported, curved spine posture that eases the load on your entire spine, not just your neck. Aim for a 25-30 degree recline and let your chair do its job.
Monitor height is crucial. Set up your station so your main monitor is at or slightly below eye level. When using multiple screens, avoid any setup that requires frequent twisting of your neck to either side. Move your eyes, not your neck.
Set timers for every 20-30 minutes throughout your day. Stand up if you’re sitting or sit down if you’re standing. No need for a huge time commitment. Just take a minute or so to stretch, take a few steps, and reset your work posture. You’ll make up that minute with boosted productivity and less neck pain.
When all else fails, Dr. Malayil and our team can help you with a neck pain management plan. Request an appointment today by calling our location nearest you or clicking to request an appointment online. There’s no reason to live with neck pain, so plan your visit now.