It is vitally important to be aware or the strain you are placing on your neck. Pressure on verterbrae and nerves can cause pain to refer into the head causing headaches, down the neck into the shoulders and even into the chest. Tight neck and shoulder muscles use more energy. Implement these simple steps to help keep your neck in great shape and your energy high.
If you are having neck pain take a quick look through our healthy neck checklist to see if there are any changes you can make. If you aren't experiencing neck pain take a look to find out how to keep things this way!!
Have you had your eyes checked lately?
If your eyesight is not 100% you may be straining not only your eyes, but your neck and shoulders. Problems are not always obvious, so make an appointment for a thorough eye examination. This can usually be bulk billed.
Do you slouch?
When you slouch, your head tilts back to see your work properly. This shortens your neck muscles, wears down the joints in your neck and may even compress the nerves that go to your arms.
Slouching often occurs more in the afternoon when people start to experiecnce a natural energy low. Instead of hitting the coffee or chocolate increase the frequency of your stretches, take more deep breaths and vary your tasks. Focus on keeping your chin tucked in, try not to let your head start gravitating towards your computer screen.
Do you have adequate support for your arms and wrists?
Armrests will take the stress off your shoulder muscles which normally carry the weight of your shoulder girdle and arms. Also consider using a wrist support. Armrests are great unless you have pain or tingling in the hands. Then it is best to rest your hands in your lap as placing your arm on the armrest can compress a nerve running through the elbow. This can irritate the tingling or numbness.
Do you hold the phone between your ear and shoulder?
A complete and utter no no! Just doing this for a short period of time can compress nerves, put a large strain on discs and ligaments and create trigger points in your neck. Trigger points can refer pain down the neck, arms and even chest. If you spend a lot of time on the telephone, invest in a headset or ask your work for one.
Is your work in front of you? If you spend most of your day looking at a computer screen, make sure it’s in front of you and not positioned to the side so that you have to turn your head to see it.
Do you use a document holder?
Document holders keep your papers next to your computer screen so that you don’t have to twist your neck around trying to look at printed material that’s lying flat on the desk.
Do you take frequent breaks?
Take frequent short breaks. It’s the best thing you can do to prevent your muscles from tightening up.
Do you carry a heavy briefcase,purse, baby or toddler?
Change sides frequently. Better yet, center the weight over both shoulders by using a knapsack and even better still, invest in a quality knapsack with a slightly padded waist belt. Using a waist belt will position the weight on your hips close to your centre of gravity. A much better place than on your shoulders where the weight pulls down your shoulders causing soreness, inhibiting circulation and creating neck pain.
Do you breathe?
If you don’t breathe properly your shoulders and neck muscles will tense up. Make a point to take deep breaths at various times during your workday.
Is it time for a stress check?
If you feel stressed often, you may need to take a serious look at your lifestyle and explore ideas for reducing your stress level.
Take some time out to just "let go". No matter how much we accomplish there will always be more to do. Take some time to appreciate beauty in whatever form is available because it is always present.
Use the elephant theory, you know....how do you eat one?
Small consistent changes are the most important to make. Most major issues that cause us pain whether it is mental, emotional or physical are usually the accumulation of many smaller components. Change one and the whole is inevitably effected. By making slight adjustments slowly and consistently we can often achieve excellent results in a short period of time.
Look after your most valuable asset (not your car) YOU!