Neck pain and stiff neck at work are common complaints of many people. However, it is imperative that people take swift action to remedy this problem because it can worsen over time. Lack of workplace ergonomics is typically the culprit behind neck pain for people who work at desks for extended periods of time.
In fact, research shows that people who have a predominantly sedentary desk job and those who work on computers, for the most part, are all more likely to experience frequent neck pain. Whether you are hunching on your workbench or leaning over your computer, the way you work may be causing your neck pain.
This guide will walk you through the common symptoms and common causes of neck pain and how you can address it.
Signs and Symptoms of Neck Pain at Work
Your neck has a demanding job since it constantly holds and balances your head, which weighs as much as a bowling ball. Considering that, various things can increase the pressure and lead to pain.
Of course, the most apparent sign is having a stiff neck or pain in that region regularly after or during work. Other ways you can ascertain whether or not what you are experiencing is neck pain from work is by looking for the following signs:
Pain that gets worse after you are holding your head in one position for long periods of time, such as while working on your computer
Muscle spasms, stiffness, and tightness
Not able to move your head as freely as you normally can
Common Causes of Neck Pain at Work
You are likely required to sit in the same position on your desk every day for long hours at work. Therefore, there could be a few factors that may be adding pressure on your neck, creating an imbalance, and generally leading to pain. The most common ones include the following:
1. Poor Posture
Experts state that the primary reason why individuals suffer from neck and back pain is that they don't maintain a good posture while working. They may be hunching over their desk or leaning over their computer for long hours. Either of these can put enormous pressure on the neck, leading to pain that does not go away with time.
2. Mental Stress
Work-related stress can also initiate or aggravate your neck pain. People undergoing a lot of stress regularly at work often tense the muscles in their necks. As a result, they may suffer from a stiff neck at work.
3. Other Causes
There may also be other physical and health-related causes that may be causing neck pain. If you have suffered from a trauma or injury on your neck, the way you work may be causing stiffness and pain. Additionally, if you are old, your poor posture and older age may be contributing to the pain. Mundane things like carrying a heavy shoulder bag to work can also result in neck pain.
All in all, if you have a pre-existing physical condition, having a poor posture at work for long hours can lead to worsened neck pain.
How to Reduce Neck Pain While Working
If your work is causing your neck to be stiff and in pain, you should definitely make changes to your workstation and how you work. If you don't, then your condition will worsen, and you might end up requiring medical intervention or physical therapy. Therefore, you must consider reducing and preventing neck pain at work.
The first thing you should do is create an ergonomic workstation. Whether you are working from home or in the office, it is crucial that you undertake the necessary takes to have an ergonomic-friendly environment. This section will get into more details on this. Besides this, here are some of the techniques you should follow in order to prevent and reduce neck pain when you are at work:
1. Incorporate Movement in Your Working Routine
Regardless of whether or not you have an ergonomic office arrangement, if you are sitting for long hours, you will suffer from neck pain. This is why you must incorporate some type of movement after every hour to get your body in motion. The minor changes can go a long way in maintaining good posture and alleviating and preventing neck pain.
You can take a few minutes to walk, stretch, or exercise. In fact, you can even consider standing while working. Additionally, you can consider conducting a meeting or attending a work call while walking instead of sitting. The main motive should be to remove the forward-looking posture you are in and straighten your back.
2. Invest In a Standing Desk
Sitting on a chair at your desk for hours can tire your body out since you cannot maintain a good posture for too long. Hence, you end up with neck pain since you have poor posture. This is why you should spend a good portion of your time at work standing on your feet. This is impossible for people who have a lot of work on their computers.
Such individuals should consider getting the Standing Desk Converter from FlexiSpot. It is not only great for your office but also a home office. It lets you alternate between sitting and standing, so you have improved posture at work and feel less fatigued. Additionally, this standing desk also has wide space so you can keep all your essential items comfortably on it.
3. Maintain Good Posture
As mentioned earlier, poor posture is the most prominent culprit behind neck pain at work. Wherever and however you work, if you don’t have a good alignment of your back and posture, you will end up with stiffness and pain in your neck. Hence, it is imperative that you have good posture throughout the day, which includes keeping your back straight and your neck steady.
The standing desk converter from FlexiSpot can be truly beneficial in this case because it has been smartly designed to enhance your posture whether you are sitting or standing. It helps prevent slouching and hunching forward while allowing you to maintain an ergonomic and comfortable position.
4. Get an Ergonomic Office Chair
You should set up an excellent desk and chair if you have a sedentary job where you would be sitting and working on your computer for long hours. This can truly make a difference in your work experience and alleviate neck pain. Hence, we recommend that you also invest in an ergonomic office chair. FlexiSpot has a wide variety of the most functional, comfortable, and high-quality office chairs you can find in the market.
A good ergonomic office chair can support your back and help you maintain good posture. This can help reduce the chances of having neck pain. Moreover, the right chair should also have an adjustable height, excellent lumbar support, and a height that allows your feet to rest on the floor comfortably. Luckily, an ergonomic office chair from FlexiSpot will provide you with all of this and more.
5. Carry Out Mindful Practices to Address Your Neck Pain
How we perceive the pain in our body can actually influence our experience. As we mentioned earlier, stress can worsen your neck pain. It can sometimes even trigger it. Hence, we must find ways to stay relaxed during work so that our mental stress does not extend to our body.
For example, you should practice mindfulness wherein you imagine yourself in a relaxing place. Alternatively, you can also practice breathing exercises. All of this can help you address your neck pain, help you stay calm, and reduce the pain.
6. Adjust Monitor Height and Keyboard Placement
Ergonomics also involves the correct placement of your monitor, keyboard, and mouse. All of this can truly impact your neck in many ways, which is why they should be in the correct position. Such a position involves the monitor height being at your eye level. If the monitor's height is too low, you will be bending your neck downwards, increasing the strain.
The keyboard should be placed close to you so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. It should also be set high enough so that you are not hunching over it. Lastly, your mouse should also be placed close to the keyboard and at the same height.
A sedentary work lifestyle can put you at significant risk of having poor posture and, ultimately, neck pain and stiff neck at work. This can lead to greater problems besides just negatively impacting your day-to-day lives in the long term. This is why you should fix the common causes of your neck pain by investing in ergonomic-friendly items and following ergonomic practices.
Consider investing in a high-quality standing desk from FlexiSpot that can help you switch between standing and sitting and thus reduce your risk of neck pain. Visit their website for more information!