People who sit at a desk most of the day working on computers are highly prone to poor posture and neck pain. In fact, extending the head forward coupled with the slumping of shoulders is the primary cause of neck pain, according to Spine-Health. If you work in an office and are experiencing neck pain, try these exercises to enhance your posture and alleviate neck pain.
Muscles get tighter as you age. That’s why you need to stretch them frequently, which increases flexibility and builds strength in neck muscle tissues. That said, one of the best exercises for stretching the neck muscles are neck bends. While sitting erect in a chair, lower your head forward and hold that position for 10 to 15 seconds, then raise it back up. Next, look up and extend your head backward and hold for the same count. Do five to 10 repetitions each way. Next, turn your head to the left as far as you comfortably can and hold it there for 10 to 15 seconds, then return to the starting position. Perform the same movement to the right for a 15 count. Complete five to 10 repetitions, then relax.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
One of the reasons slumping shoulders makes your neck hurt is because your neck muscles extend down between the blades to the trapezius muscles. And simply squeezing the shoulder blades can stretch and strengthen that area to alleviate pain. Start with both elbows raised up and parallel to the floor — with your forearms and hands pointing toward the ceiling to form a football goal post. Move both forearms forward and touch them together. Hold that position for 10 to 15 seconds, then move them backward as far as you can. Squeeze your shoulder blades while your arms are back and hold for a 15 count. Perform five to 10 repetitions, then relax.
Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Stretch
This exercise stretches your shoulders, traps and lower neck from a different angle. While seated or standing, move your right elbow in front of you and hold it with your left arm for a half minute, according to Mayo Clinic. Repeat the same movement on your other arm. This is a stretch that can easily be done almost anywhere, so consider keeping it on hand when you need it.
If you perform these exercises for several days and still feel pain in your neck, you may need to see a doctor or chiropractor like Fulk Chiropractic. Trained professionals can better get to the source of your pain and heal it through manipulation, additional exercises, medications and heat and ice. Never let your neck pain persist as it could get worse in the long run.
Perform neck and shoulder stretches every day while making a conscious effort to maintain correct posture while working. Take periodic breaks from your desk and computer to unwind and relax your muscles. Over time, you’ll notice a big improvement in both your posture and neck health.