All of us have experienced at least mild neck pain at some point in life. The most common reason behind this pain is either a bad posture while sleeping or strenuous work in office. We’ll look at a few easy tips to prevent neck pain at work, and thus avoid working under stress.
Did You Know?
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace to all their employees.
Before we proceed to preventing neck pain at work, we must look at the causes of this troublesome condition. The most common causes include soft tissue abnormalities and prolonged use and wear. Rarely, certain infections and tumors might also cause pain in the neck, which can radiate to the upper back, arms, and shoulders.
However, when we specifically talk about neck pain that has its roots in your working technique, you need to make sure you’re working in an ergonomic-friendly work space. Basically, ergonomics is the science that ensures your work environment is not causing health problems for you and that your working conditions are the best for your well-being.
The following tips will ensure that you are not, in any way, a victim of neck pain, and that this condition doesn’t ever bother your performance at work.
Crucial Tips to Prevent Neck Pain at Work
☛ One of the easiest things you can do is not sit for prolonged periods in one position. Remember to continuously change positions and relax your shoulders.
☛ Work interspersed with breaks will enable you to relax your muscles, and do a few neck-strengthening exercises. Take a break every two hours to relax and exercise.
For example, every two hours, drop your chin to your chest, roll your neck to the right, back, to the left, and down again in a circular motion. Do this for 5 minutes and get back to work.
☛ Avoid the head-forward posture and do not slouch. When you are sitting in a chair, keep your lower back supported and make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
☛ The screen of your computer should always be at eye level. This greatly helps in preventing pain that is associated with long-term computer use.
☛ If you use the phone a lot, use a headset or use the speakerphone function. Don’t cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder.
☛ If your job involves driving, adjust the seat of your car to an upright position. Your head and lower back should always be supported. The steering wheel should be easily reachable and your arms should be slightly flexed.
☛ Use adjustable chairs so you can adjust the height as per your requirements. If your feet don’t touch the floor, use a footrest. Also, try adjusting the chair to different positions for more comfort. You need to customize your workstation so that it adjusts to your requirements and not vice versa.
☛ While you’re typing, your knees, hips, and elbows need to be at a 90-degree angle. Your elbows should remain close to your body the entire time. By following this posture, you will not only prevent neck pain that is caused due to sitting at a desk for long, but also problems related to back pain.
☛ Make sure that your mouse isn’t out of your reach. Keep it near you and the keyboard. You shouldn’t need to raise your shoulder to reach it.
☛ Do not keep your laptop on your lap and look down at it. This not only puts stress on your neck, but also on your spine. Even while using a tablet, the strain on your neck can be reduced by keeping the gadget at eye level.
☛ If your job needs you to lift objects, then stand close to the object you need to lift; bend at your hips, hold the object close to your body, and lift. If you think it’s very heavy, don’t lift it and inform your authorities.
Some other Tips
Chewing helps decrease stress by reducing cortisol levels, and also improves alertness. Keep a few carrots, cucumbers, or healthy snacks with you while at work, to fight stress.
Maintaining a healthy body weight will also certainly help. Consider getting a massage once in a while to pamper your muscles. Last but not the least, make sure you’re sleeping on the right pillow.
These tips will definitely help you prevent neck pain at work. A healthy posture will not only avoid health problems, but will also increase your productivity at work. If you still need any help, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides several guidelines that will help you understand ergonomics at your workplace.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical professional.