How to avoid work-related neck injury

ONS Physicial Therapist Alicia Hirscht, DPT

ONS Physical Therapist Alicia Hirscht offers the following advice on prevention of neck pain and injury:

With the rise of computer-based occupations, it is now estimated that 60 to 70% of desk workers experience neck pain on a yearly basis. Static neck positions and poor workplace design are two of the biggest factors contributing to neck pain and injury. Following are some guidelines to help reduce the risk of neck pain:

  1. Make sure your computer screen is directly in front of you, and that you are able to look straight at it, not down. If you have a laptop, consider placing it on a riser and using an external keyboard.  Position your keyboard close, so that you do not have to reach with your arms. Try to keep your trunk in a neutral posture, with a lumbar support at the base of your spine. Use a headset or speakerphone instead of holding the phone to your ear with your shoulder.
  2. Get up and move frequently. Standing for a minute or two, every 30 minutes, is a good way to redistribute the forces in your neck and avoid reaching the threshold of pain and injury.
  3. Exercise regularly to improve your overall neck health. Performing a routine of simple exercises, 3 times a week that includes strengthening for your upper back and stretching your chest and shoulders, can help minimize your risk of pain and injury.

    Exercises to help prevent neck injury

    1. Anchor the band in your office door. Pull back with your elbows bent, squeezing your shoulder blades together and opening up your chest. Repeat 2 sets of 15 repetitions.
2. Hold the band at your waist with your elbows bent and tucked into your sides. Rotate your hands outward, squeezing your shoulder blades together and opening up your chest. Repeat 2 sets of 15 repetitions.
3. Place your hands in a doorway, step forward with one foot. Bend your front knee and lean into the doorway, stretching out your chest. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat with opposite leg forward.

 

Make sure your computer screen is directly in front of you, and that you are able to look straight at it, not down. Try to keep your trunk in a neutral posture, with a lumbar support at the base of your spine.

ONS licensed physical and hand therapists offer professional, individualized treatment, using state-of-the-art techniques to evaluate and treat orthopaedic and spinal conditions. Our therapists hold advanced degrees. They are trained in rehabilitation for sports injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, orthopaedic and spine surgeries as well as treatments for movement impairment and functional limitation.