You have been sitting at your desk for hours checking emails, reading documents and attending virtual meetings. It is not long before a nasty pain in your neck creeps up, and it is not going away. You need your computer to get your work done, but the discomfort is making it impossible. How can you avoid neck pain while working at your computer?
We are living in a time where more and more people are seated in front of a computer screen for extended periods. If you are not taking the proper precautions, it could lead to ongoing aches and pains that will make concentrating on your work much more difficult. Read on to learn what you can do each day to keep that nasty neck pain at bay.
Tips to Avoid Neck Pain While at Your Computer
If you are feeling discomfort from long hours of staring at a screen, you are in the right place. Let us dig into the simple steps you can take to make your workday pain-free. Your body will thank you later.
- Check your screen’s resolution
- Be mindful of your posture
- Adjust the height of your monitor and chair
- Avoid bending your neck uncomfortably
- Get up and walk
Check Your Screen’s Resolution
Do you find yourself leaning forward to get a clearer view of your screen? If so, you will want to adjust your screen’s resolution to ensure that you are getting a bright, sharp, and steady image. If the screen image is blurry, fuzzy, or dim, that will cause you to adjust your body to the screen better.
Hours and hours of leaning and squinting will take their toll on your neck and spine, not to mention your eyes and vision.
If you are comfortable with the screen’s resolution but still find yourself leaning in, you may need to update the display settings on your monitor to use larger font sizes. You should also use the zoom function whenever you can. It is not good for your eyes to have the monitor too close to your face.
Be Mindful of Your Posture
When seated in front of your computer, it is essential to pay close attention to your posture. Good posture prevents straining the muscles and ligaments in your neck, shoulders, and back. You can achieve good posture by doing the following:
- Make sure your head is directly balanced over your spine.
- Your back should be flush with the back of your chair — it is important that your chair fits the curvature of your spine.
- Keep your shoulders back — do not slouch!
- Place your feet flat with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
- Set an alarm on your phone every hour to remind yourself to check your posture, and readjust if you need to!
Adjust Your Monitor and Chair
When looking at your monitor, you should not have to tilt your head up or down to get the best view of the screen. The monitor should be directly in front of you. Keeping your head at any angle other than straight-forward will exacerbate the strain on your neck.
If you cannot adjust the monitor’s height to the level you need, you may need to make height adjustments to your chair instead. Be sure to stay mindful of your body’s position should you need to adjust the chair’s height. You still need to keep proper posture!
Avoid Bending Your Neck Uncomfortably
In today’s work climate, chances are you are multitasking throughout your day. Every time you look down at your phone, you are putting unnecessary strain on your neck (that is likely already strained). You can avoid this additional strain by responding to your emails from your computer, not your phone.
The same goes for when you are talking on the phone and pin the phone between your head and shoulder. Everyone does this, but it is a bad habit. Try investing in a headset for your calls, as this will ensure you maintain good posture.
Get Up and Walk
Even with the perfect posture, sitting in a stagnant position for too long can still take its toll on your body. It is easy to become so engrossed in your work that you do not get up for hours at a time. This is a habit you will have to break if you want to avoid neck pain.
The longer you sit, the more challenging it becomes to maintain the proper posture. You will have to make time to get up out of your chair and walk around when you feel any pain or discomfort setting in.
Just like your posture check, set an alarm in your phone to get up out of your chair every 30 minutes. Take a walk to the water cooler. Do a lap around the parking lot. Whatever you do, give yourself time to get out of the same position and get your body moving.
Changes You Can Make at the Office to Avoid Neck Pain
If you have been suffering from neck pain, there are ways you can find relief. Along with the tips above, seek out equipment that is designed to help you avoid neck pain while working on your computer.
- Invest in a chair with lumbar support
- Consider using a standing desk
- Switch between an office chair and a posture ball
Use a Chair With Lumbar Support
As discussed earlier, it is easy to position yourself incorrectly in your chair which inadvertently puts stress on the muscles and ligaments in your neck, shoulders and back. Over time, this can cause more than just temporary pain.
Static posture in an unsupportive chair can lead to permanent damage to your spinal column, worsening your already existing pain. Ergonomic office chairs are designed specifically to support the curvature of your spine and good posture. You willl want to find a chair that comes with a head rest, back support, and adjustable height and tilt.
Use a Standing Desk
Maybe you are fed up with sitting altogether. You have tried everything, but the aches and pains in your neck still persist. It might be time to consider using a standing desk. Using a standing desk comes with its own rules to keep the pain away.
When using a standing desk, it is still important to keep your computer monitor at eye-level and your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Do not stay stationary or lock your knees. Shift your weight and set timers to move around every thirty minutes.
Balance and posture balls are also available to help with posture correction at the office. They can feel strange at first, but they, like standing desks, will improve your posture and balance, which will in turn diminish the neck pain caused by improper sitting.
Find the Best Solution That Fits You
Neck pain is a common ailment for those who need to be in front of their computers for work. The root of the pain comes from various places such as poor posture, an unclear screen image, monitor set-up, and static seating.
Luckily, the solutions to your neck pain are not difficult to find. Simple adjustments will help you evade neck pain while working at a computer. If you follow these steps, you can prevent temporary and long-term neck soreness and enjoy a pain-free work day.
Hamid Tahir is a Mechatronics Engineer and founder of WFH Overload. He is currently working from home and is dedicated to the continuous improvement of his home office setup. Hamid has extensive experience setting up workspaces and dealing with the related tech. He hopes to share his knowledge to help you create the most productive and comfortable work from home setup. Read More