For many of us, a normal workweek means 40+ hours sitting in front of the computer, often hunched over with poor posture and little consideration for our body’s need to move. After a full day of catching up on e-mails, phone calls, and meetings, the thought of sweating it out at the gym is an exhausting one. Despite the fact that so much sitting can have a detrimental effect on our overall health and may potentially lead to a number of musculoskeletal conditions, many of us just don’t have the time. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to feel better and keep the blood flowing without missing a beat of the workweek. Try to incorporate these simple exercises into your schedule to target different parts of your upper neck & back that may be prone to injury during your normal 8-5.
- Deep breathing: try to find a couple of times in the day to take 3-5 deep breathes (when you first sit down at your desk, after lunch, when you shut down your computer). Doing so delivers oxygen-rich blood to our brain and muscles and will also help release any tension held in your upper back.
- Deep neck stretching: There are over 26 muscles in the neck! Not surprisingly, you’ll need a combination of movements to target each one. See the pictures below for a demonstration of each stretch. These are three quick stretches (aim for 15 seconds each, repeat 3 times), and can be done while typing.
Stretch A: Sitting. Bend your head forward until you feel a stretch behind your neck. Repeat in the opposite direction.
Stretch B: Sitting. Turn your head to one side until you feel a stretch, repeat to the other side.
Stretch C: Sitting. Tilt your head toward one shoulder until you feel the stretch on the opposite side. Repeat to the other side.
3. Spine lengthening: (imagining the top of your head is being pulled to the ceiling). This exercise helps to strengthen your deep neck flexor muscles. Think of it as core stability training for your neck!
4. Take a walk! Even a short walk to the water cooler or washroom every hour helps. Use technology to set hourly reminders to get up and move. Walk longer at lunch if you’re able to. Every little bit helps and adds up!
5. Make sure your work station is ergonomically friendly! There are many things that can make your work station more comfortable – monitor height, keyboard angle, chair make & model, the distance away from your screen, and lighting conditions. If you need help setting these things up, our Occupational Therapist can evaluate your work station and make recommendations to optimize it to suit your needs.
Do you need help with your chronic neck pain?
If you need physiotherapy for your neck pain in the comfort of your own home (or office), the physiotherapists at Chipperfield Physiotherapy will come to you in Vancouver and surrounding areas!
When our physiotherapists or occupational therapist come to you, it allows us to see how you move and interact within your home or office environment and tailor a program to suit your unique situation. Our mobile physiotherapy service also saves you the hassle of having to travel to appointments, and the cost of gas and parking.
So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today and let us help relieve your neck pain!