Exercise Improves Pain Associated with Chronic Computer Use
One of the most common complaints of today’s office worker is neck pain and upper back pain due to long days in front of a computer. In addition to improve the ergonomic arrangements in your office space, you should also begin a regular exercise program.
It is thought that as many as 80% or more office workers today suffer from pain in the neck and shoulders. And with the recreational use of computers at home (including video gaming), that number is higher now than it has ever been.
The neck obviously supports the head as its main purpose. But have you thought about what is underneath the skin? Inside, the neck is made of seven cervical vertebrae, disks, muscles, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, glands and lymphatic tissue. Anything that disrupts the structure of these can cause inflammation and pain.
There are some environmental changes you can make to reduce the risk of neck pain, including adjusting the height of your computer screen and making sure you take frequent breaks throughout the day.
You can also prevent or improve neck pain with a regular exercise habit that includes neck strengthening exercises.
A recent Chinese study found that progressive resistance training improved strength which led to pain relief and improved mobility.
PhysioAdvisor.com recommends incorporating these basic neck strengthening exercises into your daily routine. Do these three times per day, and you should see great improvement to your symptoms:
• Shoulder Blade Squeeze: Begin by standing or sitting with back straight. Your chin should be tucked in slightly and your shoulders should be back slightly. Slowly squeeze the shoulder blades tighter as hard and as far as possible (stressing, but without causing pain). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
• Chin Tucks (one of the most effective exercises against neck pain): Begin again sitting or standing tall with your back and neck straight and shoulders back slightly. Tuck your chin until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain-free. Keep eyes and nose facing forward. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat 10 times.
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Li X, Wu S, et al. Comparison of the effectiveness of resistance training in women with chronic computer-related neck pain: a randomized controlled study. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2017 May 20. doi: 10.1007/s00420-017-1230-2. [Epub ahead of print]
London Pain Clinic
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