Useful Tips - Managing Your Neck and Shoulder Pain at Work (Office Environments)
- Change your posture and position more frequently - every 30 minutes.
- Sit well back in your chair with your lumbar spine supported – this will automatically keep your head and neck in a better position.
- Check you monitor height – your horizontal line of sight should be to the top of the monitor (so that the gaze is directed downwards to view).
- Check your monitor distance – are you pushing your chin forward to view the screen?
- If you are referring to paper documentation – where is it located? Reference documents are ideally located between the keyboard and the monitor.
- How high or low is your desk? To check this you can sit side-on with your hands in your lap. Your elbow should be just above the desk – at the correct height your forearms and hands will rest on the keyboard without elevating (or depressing) your shoulders. Adjust the desk if you have an adjustable desk; alter the chair up or down if the desk is fixed.
- Ideally work with your feet on the floor – if you have adjusted your chair up to accommodate the elbow height a footstool may be required. If you needed to adjust your chair down and find your knees a bit high you will need to request that your desk is raised by some means.
- Is your keyboard too far away from you? When typing your upper arms need to be in line with your body and your elbows close to your sides. Position yourself and your keyboard to accommodate this.
- If you are standing to work check the correct working height against your elbow – as with a seated position. Stand side on to the desk with your hands clasped in front of you. Your elbow should be just above the desk.
- Checked your set up? Time to consider the other contributory factors. We know that the concept of total load on the body is important and too much load from any source can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and means that you become sore.
- Consider what has changed for you – less outside activity, more sitting due to a change in job type, less sleep, some private or family stress. These can all affect your comfort at work.
- If your neck pain and shoulder pain persists – seek a full work space assessment and consider physiotherapy treatment.
- Stretches that may be useful:
- Neck chin tuck - when sitting or standing gently tuck your chin in. do not tip your head up or down. Relax and repeat
- Neck side turns - sit or stand upright facing forwards. Turn your head gently to one side. Feel and hold a slight stretch on the other side.
- Shoulders – when sitting roll your shoulders up and around to stretch the shoulder blades.
- Trapezius stretch - sit or stand upright facing forwards. Turn your head sideways and bend forward and down to look at the floor. Apply a stretch with the same side hand to the top of the head pull downward (hint – try to point your nose into your armpit!)
For more stretches and to get rid of pain, see habitatwork
is a company that provide Workpace break and exercise software. There is a comprehensive exercise component with videos in the software – a free 30 day trial is available at http://www.wellnomics.com/workpace/