How to avoid neck pain while working from home

If you’re like most people, coping with the COVID-19 lockdown means a lot more screen time. Whether you’re writing at home, having tele-conferences, or binging a show to pass the time, more screen time can result in upper back and neck pain. Here’s why it happens, and how you can Phyx it.

Your body is like a building. Make it the Empire State Building, not the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Think of your upper body like a skyscraper, with the head as the top floor. Your spine is the foundation, helping to support the weight of the body against gravity. This is easiest for the body when he spine is kept relatively straight, so that all the bones of the spine are stacked on top of one another.

As we sit for long periods on a screen, the skyscraper that is our spine starts to lean forward. The head, which can weight up to 5kg, starts to draw towards the screen we are working on, causing strain on the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Imagine the stresses on your skyscrapers’s foundation when the top floors begin to topple forward.

We all know that we should sit up straight, but it’s easier said than done. Here’s how to make it easier.

Stop fighting your own body.

Much of what we do during the day, including working on screens, can cause the muscles in the front of the body to become tight. As a result, the back rounds, which leads to over-stretching and weakness of the muscles between the shoulder blades.

This means that every time you try to sit up straight, you are fighting against the tight muscles across the chest, throat, and shoulders, and all you have to use are the floppy, weak muscles of the upper back. That’s why it takes so much effort to sit up straight, and why many people develop upper back and neck pain when sitting.

Balance things out.

So how do we loosen the front of the body while strengthening the back? The Phyx app provides an easy-to-follow progression of exercises to do just that. Here’s one to get you started:

Perform this stretch for 20 seconds on each side, 3 times per day
For more detailed instructions on dose, technique, and common mistakes when performing the Chest Stretch, download the Phyx app where you can access this exercise for free.

The Chest Stretch is a great way to tackle one pice of the imbalance, and it will start to give you the range of motion necessary to sit with good alignment. However, it’s important to supplement stretching with the correct strengthening exercises., so that you have the strength to maintain that alignment comfortably.

Get a comprehensive program to help you improve.

You can do more than you think to change your biomechanics and posture. Alterations to your environment also make a big difference to issues like neck pain. Workstation setup, the frequency of your breaks, and even the way you breathe can influence the way your body responds to sitting and working on a screen.

For a step-by-step guides on how to optimize your environment, improve your posture, and treat pain in all areas of the body, download Phyx from the App Store.

You may also want book in for a video consultation with a Phyx physio to get advice, personalized exercises, or a workstation assessment.

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