If you work from home or attend school online, there is a good chance you already have it.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to spend more time sitting in front of screens. And, if we haven’t already adjusted the height of our screen, we’ve been tipping our heads forward slightly to see what’s in front of us. At first, it is doable, and likely doesn’t cause problems, but by keeping our head at this angle for a long time, can cause pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back. This strain can also cause headaches and in severe cases, symptoms of numbness or tingling in your shoulders, arms, wrists or hands.
We can prevent Pandemic-Neck by being mindful of our workplace ergonomics. Ergonomics is a fancy word for how safe and efficient our workplace is set up. We need to be aware of how we hold our body when we work and what we can do to prevent pain caused by being in one position for a long time.
Here are 5 things you can do to avoid Pandemic Neck Pain:
1. Sit up tall in your chair while working or while attending virtual school.
If you catch yourself slouching:
- First, imagine you have a string attached to the top of your head, and someone is pulling that string upward.
- Second, use the muscles between your shoulder blades to pull your shoulder blades together behind you,
2. Raise your screen.
- Get a sit stand desk or stack your laptop, tablet or monitor on a stack of thick books.
3. Take frequent stretch breaks.
- Use things that occur ~30-~60 minutes to remind you to stand up and stretch. (Like when you receive an email or a phone call)
- Slowly and gently turn you head left and right and look up and down. Stretch your arms over your head.
4. Walk in between classes or meetings.
- If you have 5 minutes between calls or classes, walk around in your house, or the block if you don’t live in Minnesota.
- Carry a laundry basket up from the basement. Just get up and move, and if it’s too soon for a meal or snack, walk someplace other than the kitchen.
5. Give yourself a break.
- If you catch yourself slouching or forgetting to stretch, don’t get frustrated. Behaviors are hard to change. Begin again from this point. Aim for progress, not perfection.
Following these critical points will help you feel great through this difficult season.
If you experience ongoing pain, don't hesitate to call our office and book yourself an appointment.