In the digital era, we spend more and more time looking at screens. At home, we may be able to relax on the couch with our heads supported, but we have to sit at our desks and face the computing screen all day at work.
Are you finding your neck and shoulders are getting fatigued because of it? Our muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones can only take so much, and when they are put under stress, you can develop real pain. Is there anything you can do about it? Yes, there is.
Work shouldn’t cause you pain. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate neck and shoulder issues while sitting at a computer. These minor improvements can fix your neck and shoulder pain, seeing your workday change for the better.
Here are six ways to fix neck and shoulder pain from sitting at your computer:
1. Correct Your Posture
When you are sitting for long periods, it is easy to slump down into the contours of your chair. You can become hunched over with your shoulders forward, causing strain and stress on your neck and shoulder muscles.
Make sure your chair has proper lumbar support. This helps the lower back maintain its natural curve and gets you in a comfortable sitting position. You should also keep your upper back against the back of the chair to keep your chest open and shoulders pulled back. Adjust your chair to maintain a level wrist to keyboard height, so it keeps your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
2. Don’t Look Down at Computer
Not good advice when walking in a dog park but vital for looking at your computer screen. It is important that your line of sight is straight so you don’t have to angle your head to see your screen. Most computer screens don’t meet your eye level when sitting at a desk, so you must tilt your head to orient yourself to the screen.
Set up your screen, so your eyes meet the top of the screen. If you have to get a shelf or other raised surface to set your monitor at the optimal height, then do so.
3. Take Breaks from Computer
Sitting for long periods in front of your computer is not good for your neck and back as well as your health in general. When working at your desk, the day can fly by when you are busy, and before you know it, you’ve been stationary for several hours.
Take a break from your desk and walk around the room. Get a drink of water or use the washroom so you can stretch out your legs and back. Do some simple arm and shoulder stretches to loosen up the muscles and rotate your neck in a circle and side to side. This will relieve any pain and help you ease back into another hour of work.
4. Exercise & Massage Therapy
Sitting while working on your computer causes you to lose muscle strength and reduce blood circulation. This sedentary occupation can also lead to weight gain, inflammation and a weakened immune system. You probably can’t change your job, so the time you spend away from work has to be physical.
Start an aerobic exercise routine to balance your work life. This can be anything that raises your heart rate and gets you breathing like brisk walking, running and biking or sports activities like tennis and swimming. This cardio activity gives you cardiovascular conditioning and promotes good health. It will get you engaging neck and shoulder muscles in the right way and strengthen them when you are at work.
Exercises are complemented by regular massages. Getting massage therapy will offer benefits for your neck and shoulder pain. Regular massages can be booked professionally.
5. Limit Computer Time at Home
When you spend all day staring at a computer, the last thing you need is to do it all night at home. Take a break from screens and do something else with your leisure time. It could be going for family walks or throwing around the baseball with the kids. Spending an evening out for dinner with a loved one is a nice change-up.
It’s good for the neck and shoulder and for the brain to unplug from a digital connection for a few hours. When you sit down to watch some tv, make sure you practice good posture or relax in a comfortable position that supports your neck.
6. Do More Standing
Sitting for a living makes it hard to maintain a proper posture the entire time, which means a strain on the neck and shoulders. If your job allows it, why not try a standing desk?
It may seem awkward at first, but many benefits are withstanding, even if it’s just for a few hours a day. Standing burns more calories, and while it isn’t a huge amount, every little bit helps. It is also said to improve your mood and boost productivity while at the same time relieving your lower and upper body from strain.
You can get desks that convert from sitting to standing so you can switch back and forth a few times over the workday. Try it and see what standing can do for you.