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Neck pain and working posture

Globally, neck pain is ranked the fourth largest contributor to years lived with disability. Workplace-related neck pain is associated with lower job satisfaction, psychological wellbeing, worker absenteeism and reduced productivity.

Excessive computer use is associated with altered postures and sedentary movement behaviour, which are factors that increase the likelihood of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Neck, shoulder and lower back muscular fatigue, discomfort and pain are increasingly common among office staff using a computer and are highly correlated with prolonged hours working on computers.

Static neck flexion angles or more than 20° have been shown to increase the onset of neck pain from overloading of neck musculature. Upper back posture, where you appear hunched forwards, greatly affects neck posture and function.

Interestingly, since COVID and the work-from-home approach, there has been a 50% increase in neck pain and lower back pain.

A whole-body approach must be considered when assessing and treating patients with postural pains as they are often all interrelated. Why don't you try these tips below to help ease your aches and pains.

# Adjust your workstation so you are sat in the correct position (consider contacting HR)

# Take regular breaks, every 45-60 mins

# Drink plenty of water

# Make some time to do some exercise

# Perform some neck, shoulder and back stretches

# Resistance training to give your muscles better endurance

Lee, R. et al. (2022). Differences in upper body posture between individuals with and without chronic idiopathic neck pain during computerised device use: A 3D motion analysis study. Gait and Posture. 95: 30-37.

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