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Pain In Your Neck Working From Home?

Since the arrival of COVID-19, working conditions have changed for many of us.

Coupled with gyms having to close for a long period of time, many people may have adapted a more sedentary lifestyle.

Moving less can lead to muscle atrophy (muscle loss), and weight gain, which can cause, or worsen existing muscle and joint issues.

In addition to sitting for long periods, alongside less than favorable ergonomic environments, this can put alot of strain on people`s posture, which is a huge contributor to neck pain.

In the current climate, many people are reporting periods of increased stress, which can further compound issues of neck pain, as people have a tendency to carry alot of tension in the neck and shoulder area, causing this area to tighten up, or become "over-active".

While stretching the muscles of the neck and shoulders can be beneficial, it is important to also include strengthening exercises in a rehabilitation programme.

Strengthening of the smaller, deeper muscles of the neck help stabilise the neck, and therefore assist in offloading the larger, more superficial muscles of the upper limb.

One of the most basic, yet effective postural exercises for combating neck pain is the "chin tuck" exercise, as described below.

  • Sit upright with feet flat on the ground, looking straight ahead with the ears directly over the shoulders.

  • Gently pinch your shoulder blades together (as if you are holding a golf ball between them)

  • Place a finger on the chin.

  • Without moving the finger, gently glide your chin straight back (this is a small, subtle movement.)

  • Don't tilt your head up or down, or bend your neck forward - there should now be some separation between the chin and your finger.

  • Hold for 5 seconds.

  • Relax and bring the chin forward again to the finger.

  • Repeat for 10-15 times, or as tolerated, regularly throughout your day.

In the beginning, it can help to have the finger as a point of reference. As the chin tuck becomes more comfortable to perform, it may no longer be necessary to hold up the finger.

A progression of the chin tuck which further emphasizes strengthening of the deep neck flexor muscles is to apply resistance with a hand placed under the tucked chin and apply light downward pressure into the hand for 5 seconds.

Always remember, movement is medicine.

Try to encorporate regular movement into your daily work schedule.

Set regular alarms on your phone to take a short walk...get your body moving...get the blood flowing, and refresh the body and mind!

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