Working a desk job exposes you to one universal hazard: the risk of neck injury. In a study by the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 65.2% of the participants—all of whom worked desk jobs—reported suffering neck pain, with 60.5% confirming that they began experiencing this after they took on their role. Additionally, positioning your body in sub-optimal positions can cause aches all along your spine. The reason for these afflictions is clear: when you’re sitting in one place for a long time, the effects of those hours accumulate.
Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent these adverse consequences. You only need to replace the harmful habits that generate these outcomes with healthier practices. This article will show you how.
To prevent neck injuries, maintaining good posture while working is the first golden rule to follow. This means avoiding common detrimental sitting positions like crossing your knees and ankles, dangling your feet, or slumping to one side. Yet contrary to popular belief, good posture also doesn't involve making your back as straight as a ruler. Doing so will only strain your back unnecessarily and, according to Very Well Health, might even cause conditions like flat back syndrome.
Instead, follow the natural curves of your body. Lean back at an angle of around 135 degrees. Keep your shoulders back and distribute your body weight evenly on both hips. Align your knees with your hips before bending them at a 90-degree angle. Finally, keep your feet flat on the floor. Following these steps to maintain good posture ensures that your neck isn't strained unnecessarily.
Most run-of-the-mill office furniture isn’t designed to prevent neck pain. You may have a desk that's too tall or short for you, or a chair with too much space between its back and your knees. These tiny details can significantly contribute to neck injury by encouraging you to slouch. To address this, consider using ergonomic furniture—office equipment designed to provide comfort while preventing injury. Pain Free Working finds that there are countless types of ergonomic furniture you can try.
Ergonomic office chairs are fully adjustable, so they can mimic your body's natural curves and promote proper posture. Monitor mounts prevent forward head posture by raising your screen to eye level. Meanwhile, you can stop sitting for 8 hours straight by attaching a standing desk converter to your table. With so many options to choose from, you can easily experiment with various ergonomic accessories to see which one helps you most effectively prevent neck injury.
Your body doesn’t like staying stationary. A study published in the journal Biomechanics notes that prolonged sitting can cause many problems, including an inflexible spine, inflamed shoulders, and stiffness—all of which contribute to neck pain. To prevent this, do the opposite: get up and move.
The general consensus is that you should take a brief break from your workstation every thirty to sixty minutes. For maximum efficacy and to maintain your overall spinal health, our article "Simple Work From Home Strategies for Maintaining Your Spinal Health" recommends you do exercises during this time. This can include something as simple as walking around the office every hour. You can also do core-strengthening exercises like leg lifts and bicycle crunches, which improve flexibility, or neck stretches such as side-to-side or forward neck bends, which correct bad posture and promotes balance throughout your body. Furthermore, you should continuously monitor your overall fitness to maintain your long-term health.
Though it appears that a desk job isn't that strenuous, the sedentary lifestyle it promotes actually poses a significant risk to your health. Consider following the tips above to prevent neck pain and optimize your productivity.
To learn more techniques about treating muscle pain or how visiting a chiropractor can help you, browse our services here at adjust.clinic.
Article written by: Roane Janison