White Collar Neck Pain – Precautions and Remedies
There was a time when neck pain, body pain, joint pain and swellings belonged to lower class workers who took a lot of manual efforts to earn a living. But it’s not the case now. The condition has reversed. Now to give efforts & tear-wear to body parts are considered as positive signs of a healthy body and discomforts due to pain and swellings have become a part of those people’s lives who enjoy white collar jobs. There was a time when working at offices and schools give a lot of comforts and rest to body. But now those people suffer from a lot of ailments at a comparatively young age, say 20s or 30s.
Also, the excess usage of electronic gadgets have reduced many work efforts of man, made his life easier as well, but have given a lot of health issues in return. They have also given rise to several ‘new gen diseases’.
i-neck & i-poster conditions
White collar neck pain has given some pet names like i-neck, i-poster etc. It turns severe at its worst condition as well. Due to i-poster, you may feel tiredness to neck, disability and similar discomforts. This condition may be accompanied by head ache, cramp in the back neck, a feel like something rolling inside and severe pain, tiredness etc. Possibility to get neck pain is not common to all. But to make certain wrong habits a daily routine can invite neck pain for sure. They give extra pressure to neck muscles giving rise to pain.
If you sit for long hours in a bend or curved position without much movement of neck and body parts, while using laptop, PC, tablet, electronic book or mobile phone, there are many chances for you to get this condition. If you sit in a discomfort angle in chair while using keyboard or mouse, or if the distance between you and monitor/keyboard is not arranged properly, you are tempted to lean forward while you are too much engaged in your work. If you work for long hours this way, neck pain and backpain will definitely catch you very soon or later.
Most common in ladies
As per studies and surveys, neck pain is most common in ladies. When you sit long hours in same posture giving extra pressure to neck, you should be aware of its end results as well. Those who work with computers, electronic gadgets and those having smoking habits have more chances. Also if your previous health records the attack of back pain and neck pain, there are chances in future too.
If you give rest to neck and back for a few days, most of the discomforts associated with it will come to a seize. Yet pain even after 2 weeks of rest and tiredness for legs and hands might be pointing to a disease state and you need to consult a doctor.
Corrections in wrong postures can give positive results
Yes, you are right. I have told earlier. While we are using some wrong postures for a long time, our body may suffer a lot, and if you are able to find and correct them, we can get rid of those discomforts as well. In short, never use wrong postures while using a computer or laptop, for example – leaning position, lying position, sliding position etc. Such wrong postures give extra strain to your eyes as well, giving many eye problems. Lighting of room should also be given enough importance and get rid of all eye problems too, to get rid of wrong postures you use unintentionally.
If you feel dryness of eyes, tears, eye sensitivity, vision unclear etc consult an eye specialist. While sitting and lying, if you adopt a position which gives less strain to neck, you can control neck pain to great extent.
Arrangement of computer table and height is very important
Some silly things which we neglect can later give us a lot of headache. For instance, a few words about the computer table at your office. It’s not designed specially for you, and you are not the only person to use it. Every person differs from each other in height and weight, and hence you should arrange your table and chair which put you in the most comfort zone. Take care of these points while arranging your table and chair.
1. When you sit in front of the computer, your ear, shoulder and waist should come in the same line. If you bend forward while using computer, it’s wrong posture.
2. Choose a chair that can help to sit straight and comfortably. Your chair should support your backbone. If needed, use an extra cushion for your back support, and arrange its position as well.
3. You should use a chair that can adjust the height. Use a padded chair.
4. The chair should be provided by arms. An armchair is best to provide support to your arms and it should be able to support your full arm, from knee to fingers. This position adds extra support to your shoulders and prevents them from hanging.
5. Provisions should be made to keep your feet should flat on floor. A foot rest should also be there to lift and place your feet, occasionally.
6. Monitor should be minimum a hand distance from you when seated. Your table should be able to afford your computer monitor this way.
7. Your hands should be able to rest comfortably on table. Monitor should have that much distance from you.
8. Monitor and your eyes should come in the same line. It gives less strain to eyes, head and neck too.
9. Monitor’s upper edge should be either in the same level or a bit lower with eye level. It’s very important as this position avoid lifting of both eyes and neck, thus giving less strain to both.
10. You can place a documentary holder in the same level of monitor. It makes your works effortless.
A few points to note while using keyboard and monitor
Keyboard should be placed at the shortest distance from the user. It’s always better to keep your elbows towards your body (it’s good to have body contact or at shortest distance) at 90-100 degrees.
Light of the room should be arranged in such a way that intense light should never fall on monitor screen. In case it happens, you can use a filter to reduce the glare.
Keep note of these positions while sitting before your PC –
A) If alphabet ‘B’ of keyboard (seen in middle of keyboard) is positioned at the centre of the sitting person, it never adds extra strain to both elbows. If so your elbows won’t slant.
B) Without adding pressure to shoulders and neck, if you are able to give support to your hands (from elbows to fingers) using arm chair or table, it gives you positive results.
While using laptop, take note of these points –
A) As keyboard and monitor are attached, it gives extra load to shoulders and neck. If you need to work for long hours in a laptop, an extension keyboard could be the better choice. It reduces the strain of your shoulders. Adjust monitor height according to it.
B) Never use laptop with your head in bowing position. Upper edge of screen and your eyes should fall in the same level.
C) If you carry laptop regularly to office, avoid adding other items to the bag that increases the weight.
D) Any type of bag it may be, but never carry it on one side of shoulders. Use both your shoulders to avoid neck pain in future.
E) For carrying laptops, you can use shoulder bags with back pads. Shoulder strap of laptop bags should have enough width.
10 important points to control neck pain
Doctors can suggest you painkillers if you are really in need of it. But isn’t it a better choice to avoid those pills with our healthy habits. Always sit straight and walk straight too – as told by our ancestors. Here are 10 more useful points for you.
1. Use a cushion in the lower side of your back while you are working in office. It gives rest to shoulders and neck.
2. Some people have a habit to work in one stretch, so much dedicated to work. Relax a little, have a short walk and come back. While sitting in front of computer for 30-45 minutes in one stretch, take a break of two minutes. It relaxes your mind and body parts, and gives rest to neck and eyes. A short walk is the best option.
3. While sitting in front of the computer, give a short break to eyes once in a while. Look at objects placed in distance. For every 15 minutes of work, just 5 seconds break to eyes is OK.
4. While sleeping too, certain wrong postures can invite neck pain. Never sleep with your head in bending position. It adds pressure to neck, shoulders and muscles. If you are a side sleeper, use pillows with enough height to give support to neck. If you are a back sleeper, small pillow or folded blanket is sufficient.
5. Give small exercises to your shoulders once in a while. Move your shoulders and neck, give massages and you can also try stretching exercises. Such exercises strengthen your muscles. You can rotate your neck and look at either side, giving some mobility to your muscles, if you sit too long before a computer.
6. Never use mobiles without the support of hands. It’s a wrong procedure to balance cellphone in between shoulders and neck. You can also use wireless set to avoid this situation.
7. While driving, you can adjust car’s seat to give less strain to neck and shoulders. Slanting angle of seat, height, space available to place legs etc should be rearranged according to your convenience. Legs should reach peddles easy. Adjust your seat position and height according to your height. While riding a two-wheeler, sit straight and use low speed while passing through humps and gutters.
8. If you have neck pain and swelling, do first aid. You can use ice or hot water bags to reduce swelling of muscles and joints. It also increases blood circulation. To lessen pain, hot bag (or cloth dipped in hot water) is the best option for majority of people. You need to find which option suits you – hot or cold. Either ice or hot bag, you should never keep it at the same place for more than 5-10 seconds. Apply at different areas around neck and shoulders. In areas affected by pain, never use ice direct. Instead wrap some ice in a polythene bag and use it.
9. A few people have the habit to make shoulders stiff and bring them close to neck, if you are in a chilled climate. It gives strain to shoulders giving neck pain as well. Instead use a scarf.
10. Mobility to body parts and muscles adds extra life and strength to muscles. You can do physiotherapy under the guidance of an expert, who suggests you its procedure and how long to do it.
Feel a little pity towards your neck
Through our wrong postures and life style, how much do we hurt our neck, which supports our head and whole body? 7 vertebrae play an important role to support our head which weighs about 4 kgs. But when we bend down to use mobiles and laptops, it doubles the workload of neck and shoulders. To balance head, muscles also put on extra load. If muscles are given extra strain, that 4 kg head will appear 8-9 kgs to muscles, which adversely affect blood circulation to muscles and tissues and oxygen supply. Pain spreading from neck to shoulders, head ache and loss of strength of neck could be the after effects.
A few simple exercises to strengthen neck muscles
Most effective exercises to reduce neck pain – stretching exercises. It can be done in different ways. Here are a few simple methods.
A) Rotate neck on either side. Rotate in the anti-clock wise direction 5 times, followed by clock wise direction 5 more times. Slowly you can increase the number of these steps.
B) Bind together your hands and without folding the elbows, raise them above head. Now slowly bring your hands to previous position.
You can also do exercises to strengthen your muscles. They are also effective to reduce pain. Here is one simple exercise. Press both your hands on forehead. After 15 seconds, slowly bring your hands down. Now you can repeat this step on either side of head followed by back side (with both hands) too. Repeat these steps. Please note: Never add extra pressure to your head. So it’s better to do this exercise in front of a mirror. Too much pressure on head can change its position too.
To avoid neck pain, regular exercises can help you a lot. Brisk walking, cycling, jogging and swimming are some of the easy steps that can strengthen your body muscles a lot.
Image source: Pixabay
Also read a few more topics on ailments & remedies associated with today’s life style and many more. Click on the images in the gallery to read