Tips to prevent neck pain.
People working in offices normally complain of pain in the neck and upper back region. This occurs due to the tendency to move the head and the neck forwards followed by the rounding up of the shoulders and thereby putting extra pressure on the neck and upper back muscles.
Slumping while sitting exerts a weight of approximately 16 kg on the neck while the head actually weighs approximately 5 kg. This extra weight means muscles of the neck and the back have to work much harder, thereby tiring quickly.
Neck pain can be manifested as headache, pain in the upper back area or the whole arm. Headache originating in the neck causes restriction in neck movements.
The following tips can help in avoiding neck pain:
While concentrating on the computer screen, reading material should always be about 15-30 degrees below from the head position or at the eye-level contact to avoid sustained bending of the head/neck. To confirm, close your eyes first and then open slowly. If the gaze is at the centre of the computer screen, then the level is perfect, otherwise this needs to be raised or lowered suitably.
Those who have intensive computer or desk jobs to do should get up and stretch themselves while turning off the buzzer, and reset the timer placed across the room. Some computers have alarm clock functions which can be set to remind you to get up. This can relieve muscle tension.
The keyboard and the mouse should be operated with relaxed shoulders and bent elbows. The keyboard should be kept close to the lap. If no keyboard table is available, then it is better to have the keyboard on the knees so that your arms and shoulders are not raised to put strain on the upper back muscles.
While typing, writing, reading, etc, it is advisable to keep the arms vertical with the elbow behind the plane of the chest, and not projected forward. Arm-rest of the chair helps in taking off the load from the shoulder and the neck.
When we sit behind a table, the chair height should be such that the forearms rest comfortably on the table without hunching the shoulders up or down. People wearing eye-glasses while reading should place the head in an erect balanced position by adjusting the frame of the eye-glasses on the nose in such a way that neck bending is avoided.
Near-sightedness should be corrected since it causes the head forward posture which leads to neck pain. Eye-glasses with adequate focal length should be used so that a person can see clearly with the head in a balanced position.