Written by Ms. Lalitha Barathy
Since the effect of Movement Control Order (MCO), most of us have been spending time at home either working or taking the opportunity to catch up on overdue tasks. For those of you working from home, you might want to take a moment and look at the setup of your coffee-table-turned-office-desk.
Our neck plays an important role of holding up the weight of the head. It is a strong yet a delicate structure. Neck pain is mainly caused by mechanical factors such as posture. Faulty neck posture adds constant tension on the neck muscles that may lead to progressive shortening of the neck muscles. This will lead to stiff neck and eventually causing pain at that specific region.
If you spend most of your waking time in front of your computer or experience an achy feeling on the back of your head during your desk work, you may be suffering from neck pain. It is a global phenomenon affecting at least one third of the global population resulting in poor quality of life, reduced productivity and escalated healthcare expenditure.
Setting Up Your Work Space
If you’re new to working from home, you can set up your workspace to be safe and comfortable with a few ergonomic tips.
- Use books to raise your monitor to a comfortable eye level which can prevent you from developing forward head posture.
- Sit upright with your back and neck supported. Try putting a cushion, pillow, or towel behind your lower back.
- Monitor should place approximately arm length away
- Take a micro break in between of work – (recommended every 20min)
By doing the above, you reduce chances of injury and increase your comfort, all of which helps you stay productive and focused.
It is easy to stay glued to our screens without realizing the passing time. Take a few minutes break from your computers and stretch your neck muscles before continuing your routine. By doing this your neck muscles have lower risk of developing neck pain and stiffness.
Besides faulty posture, factors such as bad sleeping habits, carrying heavy load on the shoulder, injuries and even pinched nerves can contribute to your neck pain. If your pain is entirely due to posture, then lifestyle changes may help to reduce the symptoms. Muscle tension can be relieved by lengthening the muscle fibers and increasing the blood flow to these muscles. In order to lengthen the muscle fibers, stretching exercises will be very beneficial.
Simple stretches and exercises can help prevent neck pain and stiffness. You can start by gently pulling your head to the left until you feel a stretch near your right shoulder blade along the side of your neck. Hold this position for at least 15 seconds and repeat it for 10 repetitions. Next, turn your head slightly to the left and look down toward your left knee. With your left hand, gently pull your head in the same direction until you feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and repeat it for 10 times. Do bear in mind that the stretch must be comfortable. If you ever feel any discomfort during these exercises, then you may be overdoing it.
In a nutshell, neck pain is not a life-threatening condition but it can affect your physical and mental well-being to a great extent. Engaging in a healthy lifestyle with adequate hours of exercises and leading a stress-free life will improve your quality of life and productivity of your work.