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BP Blog

Subject: Easy steps to reduce neck pain, arm pain and headaches at work
Category: Physiotherapy
Posted by: Jon Blackburn (17.01.11)

Much of the neck pain, cervicogenic headaches (headaches caused by problems neck) and arm pain experienced by those of you who sit at a computer for large proportions of the day, is caused or aggravated by your posture.  Maintaining a good posture for 6-10 hours a day is not easy but here are some simple steps you can take.

  1. Your arms are attached to your body by the muscles that run from your shoulder blades to your upper back and neck.  If your hold your arms in front of you all day, your neck muscles will inevitably become much tighter than they should, giving rise to neck pain.  Try to keep your elbows by your side with your forearms supported on your work surface.  Your keyboard and mouse should be easily accessible from this position, rather than an arm’s reach away from you.  Use a separate keyboard and mouse if you’re using a laptop, to allow you to do this.
  2. Anytime your head moves forward of your shoulders and spine, the muscles at the back of the neck, some of which attach to the back of your head, have to work “overtime” to keep your head up.  If they do this all day, they may become very tight and achy – this can often lead to headaches.  Sit back against your chair in an upright or slightly reclined position, with your head back inline with your shoulders and upper back.  If your chair has a head rest, try to keep your head back against the head rest for support.
    Try to ensure that you return to this position after looking down to paperwork on your desk.  Your computer screen should be at a level that allows you to see it clearly while maintaining this position – usually with the top of the screen level with your eyes.
  3. Regular breaks from your sitting position will always help, so try to organise your day to enable you to get up from your chair at regular intervals.
  4. Simple stretching exercises can help to stop muscle tension building up over the course of the day – take a look at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy website for the “Fit for Work” information leaflet (Click Here)