How to avoid neck ache
So, who’s already finding themselves or their children complaining of neck ache due to working from home? Our homes are the place we live, rest, sleep. eat and play. Most of us aren’t particularly well set up to work from home and if you are lucky enough to have a well set up office then sit back and read this with a bit of a smug smile. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take heed though. This is a particularly stressful time for everyone and chronic stress can lead to many problems from IBS and poor digestion to poor sleep and chronic muscle pain. Please don’t underestimate the harmful of effects of poorly managed stress. What can we do to help ourselves at home to work safely? I have put together some tips that can be applied to children as well as adults.
Tip 1– stick to a routine where possible. These are unprecedented times and for many this means both schools and work are closed. This throws everything into chaos as whole families are forced to work together throughout the day. Try to keep a structured breakfast lunch and dinner and set a time in the morning to do whatever school work has been set. Have a good break at lunch then repeat in the afternoon. It doesn’t have to be set in stone but routine is important to us all
Tip 2– set up a work space. Whether its for you or the kids. its important to have somewhere that you can set up a work station that will make your life easier. A few hours on the sofa here and there is ok but day after day sat squashed up may lead to neck aches and stiff shoulders. Children are slightly more resilient but it still beneficial to provide them with somewhere they can work.
- Try to set u somewhere with a flat surface like a dining table.
- If using a laptop try to make sure your forearms are supports so you dont keep your wrists in extension all the time. Try to maintain a nice straight wrist where possible
- Sit on a firm chair that isn’t too high or too low. Ideally you want to be able to glance down at the screen rather than hang your head down to look at it. Your head is a heavy structure weighing around 5kg on average. The more forward tilt you have in your neck the heavier this gets.
- Try to sit with your legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor. This keeps things centred so one side of the body isn’t working against the othe
Tip 3– take regular breaks. This is the most important one. The muscles at the back of your neck and across the top of your shoulders like to move (as do all muscle) so keeping them in one position for long periods of time can lead to muscle pain. This is your muscle telling your brain its not happy. Pain isn’t always a sign of damage but it is a sign that your body is telling your brain something. Act on this early warning system and get up and take a break.
Tip 4- do some exercises. Exercise in general is really important for both your mental and physical wellbeing and this time of change and uncertainty its even more important that you are getting some daily exercise within the government guidelines. Some simple neck and shoulder exercises can be performed regularly to keep you muscles that support your head healthy. The video below shows some really basic exercises you can do at home (or at work) and there is a downloadable exercise sheet via the link. I am doing short daily workouts at 11am every day designed to be done by all abilities so please have a look at my FB page for more details
Neck ROM exercises- flexion, extension, rotation and chin retraction
Shoulder exercises- lifting, circling, thoracic spine rotation
So there are a few simple tips to help you get set up at home for home working. Please be kind to yourself at this difficult time and if you are local to Kimberley then please join our Covid 19 Community Support Group. Stay safe and please #stayathome.