Neck strain is a common experience for people especially those working in front of the computer all the time either at home or at the office. Neck strain can be very uncomfortable and may even involve neck spasms or ‘stiff neck’ as a result of spasms in the neck muscles. Neck strain usually happens because the neck muscles and soft structures around the neck area have increased burden in bearing the weight of the head. When people work in front of the computer most of the time, the head tends to assume a forward head position as a mechanism to view the monitor clearly. This forward posture of the head makes the weight of the cranium 4x the actual weight that the neck supports. Due to this, the neck is tensed most of the time. Neck strains can also occur from over straining the area from exercise and poor sleeping positions.
Neck strains are common ailments and, in the same line, they are also one of the most common ailments that people can avoid. As stated above, neck strains can happen because of poor posture and improper exercise so the avoidance of which involves proper body mechanics and ergonomics. In order to avoid straining the neck, the following measures can be employed:
• Avoid prolonged sitting
As prolonged sitting can cause a forward head posture, taking a break regularly once every hour relieves pressure in your neck and back. Set an alarm every hour and get up and walk inside your office or grab some coffee to straighten the alignment of your head and neck.
• Get an ergonomic chair
If working in front of your computer or desk is inevitable, better reorganize your work area to make it less damaging to your spine. An ergonomic chair should follow the natural curves in your spine with a neck support, tall backrest and properly positioned armrest.
• Get a good pillow
Too hard or soft pillows prevent your head from being supported adequately causing an abnormal curve in your neck overtime. Getting a good pillow will help you sleep comfortably and avoids waking up in the morning with a stiff neck.
• Do stretching before any exercise
To avoid straining your neck muscles from exercising too eagerly, make sure to stretch out to make the muscles more flexible.
• Position your monitor at a correct height
Your monitor should be at eye level to prevent gazing upwards or downwards that can strain the neck muscles.
Aside from these major preventive measures, other essential tips include:
• Stretching your neck while sitting
• Getting a regular massage
• Avoiding sleeping on your tummy
• Avoiding carrying heavy loads
• Avoiding over reaching, instead, go near the object
• Pushing heavy loads instead of lifting
• Bending at your waist to pick something, instead of bending at your back and neck to look at the object
• Placing a book in your head while sitting to keep the neck in a neutral position
• Avoiding overworking
The muscles on your necks may be smaller than those at the rest of your body, but straining them may render you not capable to move efficiently. In this line, preventing neck strain is more essential than curing it.