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Workplace Tips for a Healthy Neck

Does your neck feel stiff or sore after a long day sitting on your desk? Dr. John Regan and our team at Spine Group Beverly Hills treat neck pain in our office, but we also want to help you avoid neck strain when possible — and that includes keeping your neck healthy at work.

In this article, Dr. Regan shares seven ways you can support your neck in the workplace.  

1. Practice good posture while sitting at your desk

Good posture isn’t just for looks; good posture can support a healthy neck and back. If you work at a desk, keep these tips in mind:

Even if you’re sitting properly, take regular breaks to stand up and stretch. This also helps support good circulation.

2. Use the right office chair

If you’re researching a new office chair, you might focus on whether or not it supports your back, but you should also make sure your office chair supports your neck too. Ergonomic office chairs should feature lumbar support, neck pillows, headrests, and adjustable levers. Adjustable chairs allow you to customize your seat so you can see your computer screen easily.

3. Adjust your monitor

If you’re constantly craning your neck to see your monitor, you’ll likely end up with a neck ache. When you set up your desk, make sure your computer monitor is directly in front of you — so you don’t have to keep your neck turned constantly. The center of your computer screen should be level with your nose; try adjusting your chair or the screen until you get the right angle. This is an important tip because if the screen is too low, you’ll naturally angle your head downward, and that can increase the strain on your neck. 

You might also consider using a secondary monitor, especially if you work primarily on a laptop.

4. Use a headset for phone calls

It might be tempting to cradle your phone between your ear and shoulder while you’re talking, but this can hurt your neck. If you frequently speak with clients or co-workers on the phone, consider using a headset instead of cradling your phone. A headset will allow you to talk on the phone without compromising the neutral position of your head.

5. Monitor your tablet/smartphone usage

It’s common practice to bend your head and neck forward when using a smartphone or tablet. However, keeping a head-forward position for hours (or even minutes) on end can contribute to a muscle strain in your neck. If the head-forward position continues long-term, you have a higher risk of developing a disc or joint issue in your neck later on. This phenomenon is so common, it has its own name: tech neck

To avoid tech neck, hold your tablet/phone higher so you don’t have to bend down over your phone. Consider using a desktop when possible. You can also use a stand to hold your device at the appropriate angle.

6. Stretch your neck throughout the day

Daily stretches can keep your muscles toned and flexible. You can perform them easily, even from the comfort of your desk. Common neck stretches include side tilts, neck rotations, and shoulder rolls.

7. Don’t carry your briefcase on your side

If you carry a briefcase or heavy purse on one shoulder, it can lead to back or neck pain. The uneven distribution of weight causes your shoulder to roll down and forward, which then stretches your neck and upper back muscles. Try to distribute the weight more evenly, for example, with a backpack-style briefcase. Or, if you don’t have a backpack, alternate sides which side you use to carry your bag.

Don’t ignore neck pain

Even if you follow these workplace tips but still struggle with neck pain, don’t brush it off. Neck pain can develop from other causes besides poor posture. That includes osteoarthritis and nerve compression. From conservative treatments to neck braces to steroid shots to surgery, Dr. Regan is equipped to help you get the relief you’re looking for -- at home or at work.

To explore your neck pain treatment options, call our Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, California office to book an appointment today.

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