The sneaky cause of your headaches and neck pain

Do you frequently get headaches or feel pain or tension in your neck, especially by the end of the day?  We’ve all probably been there since the majority of people tend to hold their stress in their shoulders and neck.  But have you ever considered the set up of your computer or workstation at work being a contributor to your pain?  Impairments in your sitting posture can contribute to headaches, neck pain, back pain, wrist pain and shoulder pain.  And sitting for long amounts of time during the day can lead to tightness in your chest muscles and hip flexors.  Poor posture often times elicits a forward head posture that strains the muscles on the back of the neck and skull, which can ultimately lead to headaches and other issues.

desk posture

Here are some solutions for you if your job entails prolonged sitting at a desk:

1. Align your computer so it is directly in front of you rather than slightly to the side so you can directly face it.  Also make sure the top of the screen is level with your eyebrows so that you are not looking down too far at the monitor.  It should also be far enough away so that your elbows can be bent at 90 degrees and hands resting lightly on the keyboard.

2. Check your posture in your desk chair.  Your feet should be flat on the ground, back supported or even slightly forward in the chair (depending on your desk chair design).  Try to keep your shoulderblades pinched together rather than having your shoulders rounded forward.  And lastly, think of tucking in your chin slightly so that the head is not protruding out.

3. Take frequent breaks from sitting and do a few quick stretches.  Two great stretches are to bring your arms behind you to open up the chest and also to press both hands together and down to open up the carpal tunnel.  Get up from your desk and take a short walk around the office if you are able to in order to break up the amount of time you are sitting in one place.

4. Get a hands free phone if you are frequently on the phone for work.  Oftentimes, people will cradle the phone between their head and shoulder which promotes neck pain.  Having a hands-free phone will eliminate that posture and still allow you to work at the same time.

If you have been experiencing these symptoms, call or email me at Fit and Toned to schedule a consultation.  Physical therapy can resolve the pain you are having as well as look closer at your posture and habits that may be contributing to the pain.


One thought on “The sneaky cause of your headaches and neck pain

  1. Jeancarlo Alencastro says:

    Great post with good information regarding workspace and neck pain. You should try having the person adjust their seat so that they are able to rest arms in 90° shoulder flexion. With the desk holding arms up in shoulder flexion less work for upper traps and scapula stabilizers. I say have your desk do 90% of the work and your own muscles doing 10%. Let me know how it works for you.


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