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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I prevent neck pain after sitting for hours?

    I work as a full-time administrative assistant and sit at my computer for 7-8 hours a day. I usually experience neck pain within an hour of sitting. How can I prevent this?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2

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    Neil Synnott

    Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist

    I am qualified as a PHYSIOTHERAPIST and ACCREDITED EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST.I primarily use the McKENZIE METHOD for assessment and management of musculoskeletal pain disorders. The McKENZIE … View Profile

    Hi,

    A few simple strategies can help to minimise neck pain in an administrative role. 

    1. Sitting posture - Placement of a lumbar roll at the level of where a belt would be helps to straighten and support your back so that you don't clouch.

    2. Get out of your chair every 30-45 minutes - Simply changing your body position, getting out of the chair and taking a short break helps to alleviate the stress on your neck.

    3. Chin tuck (cervical retraction) exercises - A gentle stretch of your neck, pulling your head back on your neck ( a bit like a chicken/ turkey) helps to alleviate stress on your neck. Try x10 every 90-120 minutes.

    For my ideas on how to manage neck pain, check out the ‘Treat Your Own Neck’ book by Robin McKenzie.

    Any questions, I am happy to help!

    Regards, Neil




  • Sandra McFaul

    Physiotherapist

    Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain or neck pain? Based in SYDNEY, Sandra is 1 of ONLY 15 Physiotherapists in Australia with ADVANCED … View Profile

    Neil's answer above should help.
    Your posture is probably the main culprit as it is with most people.
    Try the chin in exercise as described by Neil.  Ideally do this every hour or so.  Unfortunately we tend to do lots of activities with our heads stooping forwards.

  • Dr Michael Cohen, Chiropractor is co-founder of the Chirosports Group one of Australia's leading groups of Chiropractors working together since 1994. Dr Michael Cohen Chiropractor … View Profile

    Next week is Spinal Care week, and the focus of this year's communication to the community is “Sit Right.”  As a Chiropractor a great number of pain related back and neck problems are associated with sitting for long periods of time and the increase in sedentary lifestyle that is such a major feature in our lives today.  For Spinal Care week a new widget has been launched and I have been suggesting to many of my clients to use it as I think it's a excellent resource for people who like you are sitting for long periods of time and having problems with back pain and neck pain as a result. I think you may like it.  Click here for the Sit Right widget:  http://bit.ly/KEabTg

    As we say at Chirosports, More Movement, More Life.
    All the best,
    Michael Cohen

  • Dr Ryan Hislop

    Chiropractor

    Dr Ryan Hislop, Chiropractor is situated in Mudgee with the team from Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. He has a special interest in sports chiropractic … View Profile

    Further to Dr Cohen, more information and resources can be found at the sit right website. I would also recommend downloading the widget he has suggested. Fantastic reminder and resource to prevent neck pain due to prolonged sitting.

    www.sitright.com.au

  • Adam Abbas

    Physiotherapist

    Adam started his career as an exercise scientist working in London’s west end. After 5 years of running a performance and rehabilitation exercise company he … View Profile

    A: Unfortunately neck pain is very common with extensive computer use. It is usually caused by compression of the neck joints and by the neck musculature working to hold your head up (it weighs about 7-8 kg).
    I recommend you get up every 30mins for 5 mins and stretch your back and neck, take a short walk (to the printer / water machine etc), it will help control your symptoms. It will allow the pressure in your neck to dissipate and take the load off your neck muscles.
    If you continue to get symptoms or start to get pins and needles in your shoulder / arm / hand then you should see a well qualified therapist or medical professional.

  • Sunil Mulay

    Massage Therapist

    Sunil is a professional remedial massage therapist with a deep interest in the functioning of the human body’s structural systems, and the conditions that are … View Profile

    It is good to stretch the muscles on the back of the neck, together with the exercise offered by Neil, which activates the deep neck flexor muscles on the front of the neck. 

    It is difficult to show these stretches to you over the internet, but you could try googling stretches for:

    upper trapezius
    levator scapula
    scalenes

    that should get you started, but best to see someone who can teach you these exercises properly. Usually, it is best to do these stretches at least twice a day, and before the activation exercises, as it helps calm down the overactive muscles, allowing the activation exercises to be even more effective.

    Also, regular, targetted remedial massage can be great, especially in the early days, until you get your neck stability bit better.

    Apart from that, it's about changing all the little lifestyle factors such as leaning forward when sitting at a computer!!

    All the best
    Sunil

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