Are you experiencing a literal pain-in-the-neck from working at your desk all day?
Maybe you have a bit of a headache setting in. Your neck and shoulders are stiff to move. And after a long day at work, this is kind of the opposite of how you want to be feeling.
So, what can you do?
The good news is that you don’t have to settle for neck pain during or after work. In fact, it takes next-to-no-time to prevent it. With a few tips and tricks, you can go about your day without any kind of pain in the neck. And in this article, we’re going to outline exactly how you can do just that.
Preventing Neck Pain at Your Desk
Get ready to take some action and play around with your workstation. Check out our top tips below for preventing and getting rid of neck pain at the desk.
Tip #1: Fix Your Work Set-Up
There are so many ways your workstation set-up can just be straight-up wrong (and it might just be because you weren’t aware of how you were suppose to set it up – that’s okay! We’re going to set you straight).
In fact, not having an ergonomical set-up might be the root cause of your aches and pains. But it’s entirely possible to fix. All you need is a few minutes.
Start with this checklist:
- Your Monitor – Is your monitor in a position where you won’t be straining your neck or your vision? Ideally, you want your eyes level with the screen. If you wear glasses, you may need to lower the screen further (by an inch or two) to ensure you’re positioned correctly. And don’t be ashamed to increase the zoom or font size if you need it. You want to avoid craning your neck toward your computer screen at all costs! See these tips if you use two monitors.
- Your Keyboard and Mouse – Yes, this matters! Everything in the body is connected. And if your shoulder and arm start to feel the strain, you bet your neck may start to feel it too! Make sure that your desk is low enough so that your forearm remains parallel with the floor.
- Your Chair – You should be slightly reclined at about 100 degrees. Your feet should be able to comfortably plant on the floor and your knees should be bent at about 90 degrees. This is ideal. And if your chair isn’t set up this way, start tweaking it. You’ll be so happy you did! See these chair recommendations for reducing neck pain.
- Your Armrests – Ensure your armrests allow your shoulders to the ability to relax downward. You should never be sitting tense with your shoulders hunched or up, especially all day long as you work. Doing so will inevitably lead to shoulder and neck pain.
A few other things you should consider when it comes to your work set-up include investing in a headset if you use your phone frequently. This can prevent you from squeezing your phone in between your shoulders and head, which places a ton of strain on your neck.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you’re set up properly, have a friend or co-worker take a picture of you. Compare it to pictures on the web. Does it look right? Are there minor adjustments that can be made? If so, make them!
Tip #2: Check Your Vision
Yes, this may sound a bit like your parents on your back about getting your homework done. But if you haven’t had an eye appointment in some time, now is just as good a time as any.
If you can’t see your computer screen properly, the only natural thing to do is to protrude your neck and head closer to it. Yet, this is a sure-fire way to experience neck pain. If you’re having difficulty with your vision, get it checked out.
And one last thing here: It might not be your vision entirely. More so, you could be straining your eyes. Try to stick to the 20-20-20 rule. This means setting a timer for every 20 minutes and then focusing your eyes on an object about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. It gives your eyes and the muscles around it a break, and it just might stop you from compromising your posture during your workday.
Related: Review these office lighting tips to reduce eye strain.
Tip #3: Try These 2 Stretches to Relieve Neck Pain
Stretch breaks are a must for anyone working at a desk all day. Every hour or two, stand up, take a walk, and stretch it out. For neck discomforts, try these two stretches:
1. The Levator Scapulae Stretch
Begin by sitting down on your right hand. Slowly turn your head to your left side and bring your gaze to look down toward your armpit. If you feel a stretch here, hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides. If you want a little more, use your left hand to gently pull your head further to the left, then hold.
2. The Trapezius Stretch
This one is very similar to the first stretch. Sit on your right hand again. This time keep your gaze straight forward and bring your left ear to your left shoulder. If you feel good here, hold for 20-30 seconds. If you want a little more, again, use your left hand to pull your head down closer to your shoulder (but be gentle!).
Tip #4: Stand Up!
The human body was never meant to maintain one position all day. So, mix it up. If you have a way to work when standing (such as with a standing desk), do this for part of your day or at set intervals. It might be the relief your body (and your spine) need.
Alternatively, as mentioned above, you can also stand and walk around every one to two hours. This can help get your blood flowing and prevent any aches and pains from setting in.
Fix Your Pain Before It Happens!
The best way to thwart pain is to stop it before it becomes an issue. Use the tips above to prevent neck and back pain.
If you’re currently experience severe and persistent pain, we recommend getting it check out by your family doctor or physical therapist. Pain isn’t something you want to ignore. It’s your body telling you something is wrong; listen to it!
And if you’re looking for a better office set-up to prevent pain, check out our office chair and standing desk recommendations to help you work with ease. After all, when the workday is said and done, you want to be able to enjoy all the great things that life has to offer without pain holding you back.