3 ways to turn down Office Neck/Back Pain

July 26, 2016

Desk jockeys of the world – you gotta get up AND get down.

Ergonomics. When I first heard it I thought that was the type of economics the teacher was talking about in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (that was Voodoo economics – see here)

It is actually the process of efficient design of the workplace to benefit the worker. Big business, big money for “ergonomic” chairs. But plenty of sore necks and backs. Still. So while it is important to optimise your workstation, it isn’t everything. As every workplace, and every human, is different, an individual assessment and plan at Newcastle Performance Physio is the best way to go to determine the best ways to fit your equipment to you, not the other way round.

BUT, you can’t rely on just the equipment. In fact, in many workplaces, equipment is stuck, old, really big, etc, etc and can’t be changed. So we have to look at what WE are doing. Or rather NOT DOING.

The human brain is pretty useless at staying in one place. It’s lazy. So when we stay in one position for longer than about 15-20 minutes it stops using our postural muscles and we just hang off our skeleton. EVERYONE does. What are you doing now? How long have you been there? And while sitting is the worst, standing all day is almost as bad. The key is CHANGING frequently. So back to ergonomics – standing only desks no, sit/stand desks YES.

All tissues have a point where they get stressed, and every brain has a point at which it will decide that that stress becomes dangerous (see our previous post on Pain Explained. When that happens you will experience the same process, and pain, as an injury, just without the incident. And the neck/back pain monkey gets on the (slouched) back of the office worker. So to stop before the monkey jumps on we have to MOVE.

1. Every 20 minutes – roll your shoulders, arch your back, twist around and grab the chair, tilt your head side to side.

Moving is like hitting the keyboard when your computer hibernates – everything lights back up.

2. Every hour – stand up (or sit down if you stand all day), go for a walk, get a drink, hands on hips and lean back.

This takes all of about 30 seconds. Easy Peasy

3. After your day/shift – don’t go home and do the same thing!!!

If you sit all day don’t park yourself on the lounge. Now I’m not saying you have to be out exercising all night (if you are – bonus points!). Watch TV if you want, just lie on the floor, do some simple movements to reverse the effects of your day.

The aim is to keep you performing pain free and away from us. If the monkey is already hitching a ride, give us a call. It is possible, and not that hard, to go to work and not be in pain.

Feel free to share this on social media and with your desk jockey friends

Until next time