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How to Prevent Neck Pain While Sitting at Work

   This post has been quality checked in line with our Editorial and Research Policy.

How to Prevent Your Neck From Hurting When You Sit

Neck pain is one of the most common complaints in the workplace. When you spend your day staring down at a computer screen, it’s easy to start feeling neck strain and shoulder tightness. If left untreated, this can lead to more severe problems like headaches and chronic neck pain.

As a general rule, correcting your seated posture can prevent neck pain.  In most cases, neck pain is caused by strain on the muscles and ligaments supporting the neck. Poor posture, where the head and shoulders are positioned in front of the shoulders, is one of the main causes of neck pain.

There is no shortage of articles or neck pain from sitting out there. However, if you are looking for some straightforward advice on how to deal with chronic pain and feel great at work from a chiropractor who spent over 30 years helping people just like you, then this article is for you!

Let’s examine the causes of neck pain while sitting and then give some simple and straightforward solutions.

1. Neck Pain From Poor Posture

female office worker using a laptop experiencing neck pain

The problem: It is imperative to maintain proper posture when working at your computer. Many people are forced to sit at their workstations for hours at a time, and this can cause significant postural strain in the neck, back, and shoulders.

When your back muscles become sore, your shoulder blades become guarded, and your muscles start to grow painful. At this point, the surrounding muscles start to contract, which puts extra strain on the primary stabilising muscles. The result is that pain manifests throughout your neck and back regions.

How to Avoid Neck Pain From Poor Posture

Consider taking breaks to move around and stretch every 15 minutes, especially while sitting. Use a supportive chair and accommodate different body types if you need to sit a lot during work.

A good starting point is to put your low back along the lower part of the chair back so that you do not slouch. An arch cushion or a pillow should support the back of your chair. Your hips should be higher than your knees and your elbows should be in a relaxed position on the armrests of the chair.

One option is to use standing desks. Standing desks allow you to switch between standing and seated positions while working at the computer. When working in a standing position, your feet should be a comfortable distance apart (usually shoulders width), and you should remain upright.

2. Neck Pain from Your Desk Setup 

man experiencing neck and head pain

Ergonomics is important for desk use and how your body should function with the furniture you are using. A standard height for a desktop would be at or slightly below eye level, but this can depend on what type of work you do most often while sitting down. Installing a keyboard tray that fits securely underneath your desk can make typing more comfortable.  When using a monitor stand that folds upright, you can adjust your monitor at any angle without bending. This keeps the monitor near you so you can get stuff done without having to travel back and forth.  

When you set your monitor too high or too low, the following happens:

Desk too high

After a few hours of typing, your neck and shoulders will start to ache. You’ll compensate by shrugging them forward in an attempt to elevate the forearms, wrists and hands up at eye level but this won’t work for long before they get sore too. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help to relieve these symptoms like making sure that both feet rest flat on the floor so the body’s centre gravity is balanced over hips as opposed to being pushed back onto heels which also helps maintain proper posture when sitting upright (sitting cross-legged or with legs dangling off chair causes spine alignment issues).

If your desk has wheels attached it may be best not to use them while working since pushing yourself back into position after every little spasm caused by leaning forward.

Desk too low

When the desk is too low as opposed to too high, you will be forced into a position that requires bending your trunk which then causes an increase in pressure on the muscles at the base of your skull. This leads to suboccipital discomfort and increases stress on other areas like shoulders and back due to their attachment points being overstretched from holding up weight while flexing backwards instead of forwards.

3. Neck Pain from Your Workstation

Woman Neck Pain from Desk Arrangement

The mistake you’re making is not paying attention to how the items on your desk are arranged. There must be a straight line between your computer monitor and where you rest or support all of the weight, so make sure those two things aren’t overlapping with each other! This change will save time navigating through what seems like an endless maze when trying to find something important.

Keep Your Desk Clean

Ensure that your workspace isn’t cluttered with papers, books and other items on the floor or desk. As you’re sitting at your computer monitor working away, do you feel like all of that stuff is inching towards where support should be coming from to keep up good posture? Well, rest assured because there are some ways for creating a more organised workspace!

Ergonomic Desk Setup

You should adjust your desk to comfortably reach your work surface with a natural arm position. If it is not, make adjustments so that you can focus on what’s in front of you without straining any part of yourself while maintaining good posture. The size and shape of your desk depend largely upon how many items need space for storage or just general organisation – large enough for anything from laptops and printers all the way up to sizable desks, which may also include wall-mounted shelves or cabinets underneath; them as well! Ensure there are no protruding corners where people might trip over things they’re moving around when working at their computer; this will help avoid unnecessary accidents happening by accident too!

4. Neck Pain from Monitor Setup 

woman experiencing neck pain from improper monitor height

Your computer monitor may be causing neck pain when you work at the computer for long periods. It should be set at or slightly below eye level to promote a neutral spine position and prevent slouching, which can cause more strain on your back muscles. All monitors include a stock stand that comes attached with it, but many are not adjustable so make sure before purchasing one if this is an important feature!

Setting Up Your Monitor to Avoid Neck Nain  

If you are working on a computer and have an insufficient monitor, do not fret. There are always plenty of ways to prop it up in order for the screen height to be at your desired level. You can use something as small as shelves or boxes; however, if that does not work then there are also options like separate monitors with mounts- these allow more flexibility when setting screen heights and distance from eyes (the latter part is important for good eye health).

When we’re sitting or standing, monitor positioning might not be as easy. Monitors can often end up too high for you to see comfortably when you are at your desk and lower than they should be while leaning over a laptop on the couch in front of Netflix (it’s been done). That is why it’s important that monitors come with an arm attached so that no matter where you need them set up, work still flows smoothly!

Standing desks are one of the best ways to combat a sedentary lifestyle. They offer many different benefits, such as increased activity levels and even more energy throughout your day. If you’re not ready for an all-out standing desk yet, try out a traditional sitting or standing desk with monitor arm attachments, so that screen visibility is never compromised no matter how you work.

5. Neck Pain from Office Chair

man experiencing Neck Pain from Office Chair

It’s essential to have a good chair in the office. It can make all the difference when you’re working at your desk for long periods!

The best office chairs have a full back extending from the chair’s seat to your shoulders or above. This type of chair will give you comprehensive support and help prevent slouching, leading to an unhealthy posture, such as being hunched over with our head forward. Suppose there is not enough built-in lumbar region support on your current workstation furniture (such as in cubicle areas). In that case, this type of design brings flexibility for those who want additional lower back cushioning by using either small pillows or even a rolled-up towel.

Choose an office chair with an easy-to-adjust seat height. You will also need forward tilt and seat depth features to be most comfortable and prevent postural strain. You want the armrests to support your elbows’ natural position when you lay them at your sides. You shouldn’t adjust them too high or too low to reduce stress on your neck and back. 

Why Your Neck Hurt When You Sit Up Straight

You may experience neck pain when sitting up straight, but not for the reasons you think. The leading cause of this discomfort is postural strain; however, many other factors could be causing your neck ache, including your environment, muscle imbalance, and stress. If these issues aren’t fixed, go see a chiropractor or physical therapist who can provide relevant services such as massage therapy and stretching exercises. This should help alleviate symptoms like headaches and migraines that could be caused by poor posture and sitting all day!

How To Sit With Neck Pain

Sitting in a comfortable position that supports your posture is easier than you might think. First of all, use an ergonomic chair with a supportive backrest and cushioned seat for comfort. Sit straight up against the support offered by the back or lean slightly forward to avoid slouching- which can cause neck pain while sitting if overdone! If you need to move around due to what you are doing, be sure not to make any unnecessary movements – these may lead to more discomfort when seated!

Conclusion

Hang in there, neck strain or pain most often occurs with prolonged computer work. It is normally the result of a combination of posture and desk setup however, it can also be related to your seating position or monitor height. When sitting on the office chair, always ensure that you’re sitting with a great posture and not slumped over! Once everything has been checked and determined as safe, find ways to modify what tasks cause the most damage like shifting when pushing against something rather than leaning forward all day!

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life.I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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