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Back and Neck Pain Relief for Office Workers

You’re swiftly typing away at your office desk when suddenly, you feel a sharp pain in your back or neck. You try to ignore it and keep going, but the ache slowly becomes distracting or even unbearable. If this is a situation that you are all too familiar with, you’re not alone. In fact, an estimated 80% of all office workers experience the ails of back or neck pain, some much more intensely than others.

To help you prevent or manage your neck or back pain at work, the experts at NQ Physio have put together this guide, including some light exercises that you can do at your desk for some relief. 

What Causes Back and Neck Pain for Office Workers?

It’s no coincidence that so many office workers suffer from this same affliction. The most common culprit of neck or back pain is a bad posture. Your body’s posture refers to the position of your arms, hands, spine, neck and head — body parts that you use the most when sitting at your desk.

A hunched or slouched posture can feel comfortable for your muscles in the short term but end up causing more discomfort when you remain in it for an extended period of time. That’s not to say that you have intentionally brought neck or back pain to yourself; it’s usually an unconscious habit that you’ve developed while placing your focus on your work.

The Importance of an Ergonomic Workspace Setup

An improper chair and desk setup can also contribute to the development of back or neck pain. Using a chair that lacks proper lumbar support or a desk that isn't at the right height can contribute to poor posture, while awkward or ill-positioned computer screens can force your neck to tilt at irregular angles, causing your neck muscles to strain.

If you don’t already have an adjustable chair or desk, investing in one is a good idea. Alignment your head, eye-line, and back properly throughout the day can do wonders for your posture, even without you realising it.

You should also position your computer monitor(s) at eye level and your keyboard and mouse at a natural angle for your arms. This helps to prevent any unnecessary neck strain when looking at your screen and may even help you be more comfortable while working. 

Neck Stretches for Sore Neck Relief

To help provide some mild relief from the soreness or tension you feel in your neck, you can try out these easy exercises at your desk:

Neck Rolls

Neck rolls are gentle stretches that can help alleviate neck tension. Slowly and smoothly roll your neck in a circular motion, alternating between clockwise or anti-clockwise movements. Avoid jerky movements and be cautious not to overextend. Perform these stretches to enhance neck flexibility and reduce stiffness.

Chin-to-Chest Stretch

The chin-to-chest stretch is a simple yet effective way to release tension in the back of your neck. Slowly lower your chin to your chest while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Hold itfor 15-30 seconds, feeling the gentle stretch along the back of your neck. Repeat this several times until your neck is less tense.

Exercises for Back Pain Relief

Similar to the neck stretches above, these exercises for your back can be done at your desk and only require 5-10 minutes to complete.

Upper Back Stretch

The upper back stretch targets the muscles between your shoulder blades. Cross your arms in front of you, grasp your shoulders, and gently pull your elbows forward, rounding your upper back. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Breathe deeply and avoid straining.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

The shoulder blade squeeze is a great exercise to improve posture and alleviate upper back tension. Sit or stand tall, then gently squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you. Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds, then release. Repeat 8-10 times. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles supporting your upper back and shoulders.

Physiotherapy for Office Workers with Neck or Back Pain

It’s important to remember that the exercises we’ve described above are only to provide mild relief — should you feel chronic pain or intense strains, do not continue to perform them and seek treatment from a qualified physiotherapist or medical professional.

Seeking relief from prolonged neck or back pain? It’s always better to address the root of the problem with the help of an experienced physiotherapist like our team at NQ Physio. We have helped many of our patients in alleviating neck or back pain, and we can help you too.

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