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Neck and shoulder pain can be a serious issue for many office workers. Long hours spent with poor posture can lead to big problems later down the line, unless you take action now.

40 plus hours per week spent sitting in an uncomfortable office chair, straining your neck to stare at a screen will take its toll on even the fittest individual. With more and more emphasis being put on technology and the Internet in offices, and an ever expanding network of worldwide contacts, if you have any type of desk based job, it’s highly likely you’re glued to your screen from nine ‘til five, Monday to Friday for the 45 years of your working life.

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Let’s face it, none of us have perfect posture at the best of times, but when we’re absorbed in what we’re doing, concentrating on spreadsheets, inputting data or managing online portfolios, everything else goes out the window, including posture.

Bad posture can only lead to one thing – pain.

Many folks complain of lower back and hip pain from prolonged periods of sitting in front of a screen, but neck and shoulder pain is a real issue too. Not only is treatment and pain management crucial, but preventing pain in the first place is huge – when you’re pain free, you want to stay that way, so don’t leave it too late to tackle your potential neck and shoulder pain.

Computer Related Neck Pain Exercises

Surprisingly, the first place you should look when suffering from neck pain is your lower back. Poor posture, hip or spinal misalignment and lower back issues can alter the posture of your whole body. This pain effectively travels up your body until it reaches your neck, and suddenly, you have chronic neck pain.

First thing’s first, fix your dodgy hips and lower back through a combination of core and lower back strengthening exercises such as planks, side planks, curl ups, squats and glute bridge raises.

Planks:

Glute bridge:

Lower back exercises:

You may also need to consult a sports therapist or physio to find if there are any other underlying causes that may be contributing to your neck pain.

Another simple way to get rid of your neck pain is to take regular breaks. Just one to two minutes away from the screen can greatly reduce the strain on the muscles around your neck and far from meaning you lose precious work time, actually means you’ll more likely work harder and be more productive when you’re not distracted by neck pain. Checking your posture to make sure you’re not craning your neck forward is a goo tactic too.

As for the actual exercises you can do to increase strength, your neck is a fairly delicate area, so you need to go steady.

Start by simply tilting your head to put your left ear as close as you can to your left shoulder. Hold this for two to three seconds, to the point where you can feel a strain, but not pain, then put your head back into a neutral position. Repeat this with your right ear toward your right shoulder. Do the same thing but tilting your head forward and putting your chin to your chest, then lifting your neck back and looking up. The critical things to remember here are to always take your head back to a relaxed position in the middle between each position, and never to perform circular motions.

Neck exercises and stretches: 

Once you’re skilled in all of these, add a little resistance. You really don’t need much and actually your own hand will provide enough, plus this allows you to vary the level of tension. If you’re really looking to push things forward, have a colleague hold a small hand towel around your forehead while you do the movements to provide a little more resistance.

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