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10 Ways to Keep Your Neck Pain Under Control

Posted on 29th June 2016 by

Neck pain is a very common complaint. We see dozens of people every week at our clinic in Chandlers Ford, suffering from various degrees of neck pain. Rarely is it very serious and there are very effective treatments that we can use to help resolve the problem quickly.

Whilst physiotherapy treatment can help neck pain very effectively, it is very important that you learn to help control and manage the problem yourself too or better still, take steps to help prevent it occurring in the first place.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Sustained poor postures can cause and re-aggravate neck pain. Learn how to maintain a good posture during common activities such as reading, watching TV, sleeping and working. This will reduce neck strain. More importantly, don’t stay in any one position for too long – shuffle and move about. It’s sustaining one position for lengthy periods of time that can cause neck issues.
  2. Overuse can over-stress the neck structures. Performing the same activity repetitively is unwise. Try to break up and vary your activity from time to time. Examples when overuse can be a problem include painting, writing, gardening, practising your sport (e.g. tennis, golf), lifting & work activities.
  3. Poor muscle control in your neck may lead to fatigue and overuse of other muscles in the area. Strengthening your neck muscles can help you control your neck problem. We will always provide you with an exercise programme designed specifically for you to help strengthen the right muscles if needed.
  4. Treatment can often help if you’ve got neck pain. Arrange to see someone when problems arise or if your neck begins to deteriorate. Don’t leave it until problems become severe. Some people find a regular massage can be helpful.
  5. Heat & massage are useful self treatment techniques. Heat & massage often helps ease muscle spasm or tension.
  6. Regular breaks are important. Try to divide your activities into small chunks and have breaks in between. Performing gentle stretches and range of movement exercises (as advised by your physio) can be very useful during these breaks. Also, get up and walk around regularly.
  7. Your chair is very important. Make sure you have a good chair for work, study or when at the computer. Your chair should have a good lower back support, height adjustment and adjustable arm rest. You could even think about having a height adjustable desk so that you vary your work between sitting and standing.
  8. Computer height is important. The monitor should be at eye level and not too far away. You shouldn’t have to twist your neck to use your computer. You should have a document holder, good light and the keyboard should be at elbow level. Your physio can provide specific guidelines about setting up your workstation properly.
  9. Avoid tension whilst working. When you are tense or you are over using the wrong muscles it will put increased stress on your neck. An example of this tension is when you shrug your shoulders and hold this position. You will feel the tension in your neck. When you relax from this ‘shrugged’ position and let your shoulders drop down and relax. This reduces the tension. Learn to relax those ‘shoulder-neck’ muscles.
  10. Improve your neck flexibility. Reduce neck stiffness by stretching tight neck muscles and joints. A stiff neck is less able to withstand strain and loading. Have your physio show you what exercises are best for you.

If you’re suffering with neck problems and want to take control, get in touch with us at goPhysio – we can carry out a full assessment to help you understand your neck issues and create a bespoke recovery plan to not only relieve your symptoms but give you long lasting recovery. If you need any advice, give us a call on 023 8025 3317 or you can book an appointment online.

Here are some general neck exercises that are great to help ward off neck pain.

Neck Exercises and Tension Relief

 


Look after yourself when working from home

Posted on 1st March 2016 by

Look after yourself when working from home

We seem to spend hours at a computer nowadays, not only working but shopping, socialising, researching……….

Technology now means we can work from almost anywhere, and the number of people working from home is now estimated to be 14% of the workforce.

Whereas in an office or workplace, we tend to be mindful of our workstation set up or have support and guidance from an occupational health service, at home this isn’t so. The work station can often be a lap top at a kitchen table or desk that doubles up for the kids homework!

Over time, such a set up can wreck havoc with your body.

Ergonomics

Ergonomic principles are great. They optimise your work station set up to make sure any stress on your body from working in a sustained position is minimised. However, the trouble with ergonomics is that it can make a work station TOO COMFORTABLE. This means you don’t necessarily feel uncomfortable, therefore you stay in one position longer. Staying in any position for too long isn’t recommended as over time this can lead to pain and issues in areas such as your neck, back and arms.

So, although optimising your work station ergonomically is recommended, to have the greatest benefit you need to combine this with changing position regularly, being active in the working day and taking small breaks.

It can seem a bit daunting, reviewing your work set up, but small changes can make a huge difference.

Small Changes

  • Start with your chair. Decent chairs don’t need to be expensive nowadays. The key components are that it has arm rests, is height adjustable (both seat and back rest), that it provides support for your lumbar spine and that it can swivel (which helps you move around your desk and reach for things you need).
  • On your desk make sure your mouse and keyboard are as close together as possible. Position your key board so that the letter B is right in the middle (many key boards are asymmetrical). Your key board and mouse should be positioned at a height so that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees when your working – this is applicable in both a seated and standing work position.
  • Position your monitor so that the top is about 8-10cm above eye level, so you can look straight on. It should be about an arms length away when you’re sitting. If you use a laptop, get yourself a docking station or device to raise it up so you’re not always looking down.
  • Make sure everything is within easy reach.
  •  If you use a lap top, invest in a separate keyboard and stand so that you can follow the same ergonomic principles.
  • Set your desk and chair height appropriately for your height. Ergotron offer a great interactive tool to help you work out what your optimal working position should be in both siting and standing.

Variation

As pointed out above, no matter how good your desk set up is, the key to staying pain and injury free when your work is mainly computer based is variety. Alternate positions when you can. A good way to do this is by task based working. For example, if you need to take or make a phone call, do this walking round. Put your printer in another room so you have to get up to retrieve any printing. Set a timer to remind you to take a minute out every 30 minutes or so to get up and stretch. Use your kitchen worktop for brainstorming or taking written notes. Invest in a height adjustable desk so that you can alternate between sitting and standing when you’re on your computer. Suggest a walking meeting so you can get out in the fresh air and get your body moving at any opportunity.

Working from home can be great, reduced travel time, more flexible hours and coffee at hand, but, the tendency to work longer hours at the desk can be part of it. So, just make sure you look after you body in the process.

If you’d like any help or advice with your work station set up, our team of Physiotherapist are on hand to help. Just give the clinic a call on 023 8025 3317.