In the old days it was called “secretary syndrome” as it afflicted women that sat in front of a typewriter all day. Now with the advent of computers, many more people suffer from neck and shoulder pain caused from hours in a sitting posture behind the computer. With your head forward while working on a computer more stress is put on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Setting up a proper work station will be covered in some forthcoming articles, but anyone who works with computers should get up regularly and take a stretch break. Take a five minute break every hour and walk around a bit. The human body was not designed to sit all day.
When you take this stretch break also try these few neck exercises. First put your head in a neutral position strait up. Place the palm of your hand on your forehead and push your head forward into your palm with your palm resisting. This will work your posterior neck muscles. Next take the index finger on each hand and place each on the back part of your neck with the two fingers touching the middle. Now extend your neck backwards pivoting on your fingers. Move your fingers up and down along all levels of your neck as you do this. Finally, work the range of motion of your neck. Drop your head forward as far as possible and extend it backward as far as you comfortably can. Try to touch your left ear to your shoulder and repeat on the right side. Then rotate your head to the right and left. If you experience any pain or discomfort doing any of these exercises then stop immediately. Do these exercises daily and they may help with the discomfort or muscle tightness many people feel working on computers.
Next week will be the first in a series of articles on the ergonomics of properly setting up a computer work station in order to maximize your comfort.