It’s nearly impossible to avoid sitting for extended periods under current stay-at-home orders. Even if you’re getting out for regular exercise, you’re almost certainly sitting more than you have in a long time. And it could be leading to neck pain.
Performing mundane everyday tasks like reading, chatting on the phone, or looking at your computer screen can lead to neck pain, especially if you’re moving less than you usually would.
Your neck is faced with a pretty heavy task. The average human head weighs between 10–12 pounds when you’re standing up straight. But for each degree your head tilts forward or to the side, the resistance can jump substantially.
Ideally, your head is positioned straight atop your neck, in line with your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles most of the time. But these days it’s hard to do that. Here are a few ways to keep the stress to a minimum to treat and prevent neck pain.
When sitting at a desk looking at a computer screen, sit in a chair that allows both feet to rest flat on the ground. Have your butt at the back of the chair with your back straight and neck and head stacked on top. If using a standard size desk, prop your computer up with books so you don’t have to extend your neck.
Getting up every 30-minutes to take a little walk can also help prevent added stress on the neck. Walk around for five minutes or so before returning to the screen.
If you’re talking a lot on the phone, avoid craning your head to the side. Instead, opt for hands-free devices like speakerphones or headsets. Also, try to walk around your home as you talk.
Reading can be another cause of neck pain, especially if you’re looking down at your book, magazine, or device. Maintain an upright position in your reading chair and hold your reading material up at your face.
If reading in bed, use a wedge pillow to keep you upright or lie down on your side, with your neck straight, and hold your book at eye level.
Everyday habits can add to neck pain, but making a few adjustments can help keep it at bay.