How To Avoid Neck And Shoulder Pain During Quarantine
Neck and shoulder pain can be debilitating.
COVID 19 has affected us in many ways.
It has changed our routines, stress levels and ability to exercise freely.
Many people working from home will be using an unusual chair or desk that is not ergonomically friendly.
Here are three top tips to avoid neck and shoulder pain during quarantine.
Positioning To Relieve Neck And Shoulder Pain
It is important that you set yourself out of with an optimal workstation. This is best at a desk, not sat on the bed with your laptop on your lap.
Make sure your seat can pull it under the table to avoid your arms being overstretched or your neck having to poke forward.
If using a laptop invest in a docking station to ensure the screen is at the right height and the mouse is close enough that you don’t do not need to overstretch your arm.
If the chair is too low consider using a pillow to raise yourself.
Ideally your elbow should be at 90° flexion and you should be sat close to avoid compensation in your neck and upper back.
It is important that you try to establish a sensible routine. At home is common that people will move less and that the line between home and work is not clear. This can mean we attempted to work long hours without movement.
Set an alarm to make sure that you are moving every hour. If you are on conference calls try to stand up and walk around. It is important to change position and reduce pain in muscles that can be caused by ischemia (lack of blood and oxygen into the muscle).
Block 30 minutes a day for exercise to increase the blood flow in your muscles which will in return reduce pain. It also has a positive cardiovascular benefit. Going for a 30 minute walk over lunch can be a great way to break up your day.
Be sure to take regular breaks. A break does not mean you grab food and sit back at your computer and continue to work. Try to walk up and down the stairs or complete exercises that break up the static position.
Bodies like to move. So move.
Exercises For Neck And Shoulder Pain
Mobility and exercise routines are not particularly sexy. But they work. Muscles at the back of the neck can get tight from sitting postures.
This pulls the neck forward and pain can result from lack of movement and oxygen within the muscles. To improve oxygen and circulation in the muscles you simply need to move.
That’s right, you don’t need a fancy massage gun or some weird device, you need to move.
3 to 4 times a day.
Exercises that increase circulation in the upper fibres of trapezius, levator scap,rhomboids and the sternoclediomastoid are all helpful if you have neck pain.
Movement of the thoracic spine can also ease a neck pain.
Check our youtube video on thoracic stretches to keep your upper back moving
Using intermittent pain relief, tens machine and heat can all help to ease symptoms of neck pain and headaches related to tight muscles in the neck.
The Next Step
To avoid neck pain during quarantine you should consider positioning, routine, regular exercises, tens and pain relief if needed.
If you are currently experiencing neck and shoulder pain whilst working at home it is important to get a clear diagnosis.
Neck pain can be caused by muscle tightness, joints, nerve irritation or referral.
Physiotherapy can be a great way to get expert advice and start you on the right treatment so you can concentrate on work.
It is also important to remember that stress can heighten pain. In these difficult times it is important to regulate your stress hormone, cortisol, through exercise and relaxation.