There are a million good and bad things for your neck and it can be confusing to work out what helps and what doesn’t, when you have neck or back pain. Often the cause of your issue is something small or easily avoided/fixed. Today, I’m throwing out a few things that you can try if you are having issues with your neck. It is by no means comprehensive or detailed, so if you have any questions send us an email, ask one of our Physios, or post it in the comments below.
1. Avoiding computer use in bed – this is a biggie, of which I am often guilty too. Since laptops have become smaller and smaller, their use while lying or reclining is putting extended strain on our necks. The general bed-notebook posture is extremely flexed with little support for the arms during typing. Tablets are no better, sorry.
2. Mobile phone use – despite being as ugly as sin, and causing negative style points, Bluetooth headsets are a great thing for one’s neck. If you are on the phone a lot, it prevents strain on the upper shoulder, and (despite smartphones’ small form factor) we are still often trying the shoulder-ear cradle. If not willing to lose the street cred with a headset, swapping ears while talking spreads a lot of the load, and takes a bit of pressure away.
3. Desk environment – check out your desk! If, like many people, you’re stuck there all day, you might as well make it good for your body. Check that your seat is high enough (hips level or higher than knees) but your feet are still flat on the floor. This should make your lower back arch a bit more normally. Make sure your monitor is a nice height so you’re looking straight and not down at it, so you don’t fall into a slump.
4. Stand – what is better than a six thousand dollar chair for your posture? Your feet. Standing pulls us into better alignment almost automatically, so get a standing workstation if possible. Swap between your regular and standing desks every hour if able. If not, try to incorporate standing into tasks that don’t require computer use, for example, reading notes or talking on the phone.
5. See your Physio – it’s a lot easier for you (and me!) to loosen up a few tight muscles, correct some posture problems and strengthen impairments, than go through a whole acute pain episode. So, if you’re feeling stiff, or noticing some movements are blocked by pain, get it checked out now as it can get a whole lot worse if you let it be.
Check out an extreme bed-computer set up in the clip below!