As many have predicted, the work-from-home movement continues its post-pandemic march in America–estimates hold that as much as 35% of U.S. workers are now remote.
And what do they all have in common? Computers. Indeed, nearly 80% of all working Americans work from a computer. And that’s not to mention recreational use.
One thing that has coincided with the predominance of computers in American life? Neck pain.
Researchers have observed increased incidences of neck pain and chronic neck pain over the years–a trend many figure to continue. And if you’re reading this, chances are you’re experiencing it too.
Taking proactive steps
The good news is that there are a plethora of exercises and stretches you can take to find relief from your neck pain, increase flexibility in your neck and even strengthen your neck muscles. We’ll walk through some of those below.
It’s worth noting that if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your neck, the root of the problem may extend to your shoulders, back and/or spine. That’s why the stretches and exercises you can do include those areas of the body too.
Stretches to treat neck pain
Stretching your neck can relieve the pressure and stiffness in your cervical (neck) joints that causes pain. Be sure to perform these stretches on a daily basis for a period of time. Only doing them once in a while won’t work.
Slowly move your head backwards and forwards as you sit or stand with your arms at your side. Hold your chin to your chest for about 20 seconds, then move your head up and hold your chin to the sky for about 10 seconds. Repeat several times.
Slowly tilt your head toward one shoulder as you sit or stand with your arms at your side. Hold for 10 seconds. Then slowly rotate your head toward the other shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat several times.
Slowly rotate your head to one side (as if you’re looking to your left or right). Hold for 20 seconds. Then slowly rotate to the other side. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat several times.
Slowly roll your shoulders forwards for 5 rotations. Then slowly rotate them backwards for 5 rotations.
Extend your arms out to your sides while standing, and slowly rotate them forward–starting with smaller circles and progressing to larger ones. Perform 15 circles. Then repeat with your arms rotating backward.
Side sideways in a chair. Grab the back of the chair with both hands, and twist your torso until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Then switch sides and do the same from the other side, stretching in the other direction. Repeat several times.
Exercises to prevent neck pain
In addition to stretching, it may be that what you also need is some good ole-fashioned exercise. These exercises will strengthen the muscles in your neck, shoulders and back to help protect against neck pain.
Make sure you do them at a pace that works for you. Some people need more strenuous exercise, while others need less.
Hold a dumbbell or resistance band in one hand. Bend forward and place your free hand on a bench or chair (you may find it helpful to place your knee their as well). Pull the dumbbell/band toward your chest, making a right angle with your arm. Try to keep your back straight to engage your shoulder and lat muscles. Perform 10 reps, then switch. Repeat once.
Grab two dumbbells. Bend forward at your waist and hold the dumbbells in outstretched arms in front of you. Then lift your arms out to the sides and up, keeping your neck and back straight. This will engage your shoulders and upper back. Perform 10 reps, then switch. Repeat once.
Attach a resistance band to something above your head or sit down and grab the handles of a lat pulldown machine. Keeping your hands outside your shoulders, pull down until your upper arms pass through parallel with your shoulders. Perform 10 reps. Repeat once.
If the pain persists beyond these DIY solutions, be sure to see a chiropractic specialist who can take more significant measures to help you find relief and alignment. If you’re in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area, give us a call at Petett Chiropractic.