We’ve all heard how bad workplace habits can cause health issues, from headaches and eye strain caused by incorrect computer monitor height to lower back pain from poor posture. Yet making small changes can help to combat these issues. Here are four adjustments to your workplace setup and routine that could help get rid of the pain in your neck.
- Set up your space for YOU. Chances are that office equipment where you work is pretty standard, but every person is different. By spending a little time setting your office up to help you maintain correct posture, you can help prevent pain or repetitive strain injuries. Your feet should be flat on the floor. If you can’t reach, stack a few old phone books or invest in a footrest. The top line of your monitor display should be approximately at eye level to avoid straining your neck. If you work from a laptop, consider an ergonomic stand and an external keyboard and mouse to help you position your computer correctly at your desk.
- Manage your monitor. Firstly, adjust your viewing distance. Your monitor should be as far as possible from you while you can still see the screen clearly (generally 45 – 65cm). Secondly, ensure you’re using the correct monitor settings and consider investing in a monitor with built-in features designed to protect your eyes. “The new dimming technology in our UltraWide™ monitors minimises the flicker level that may cause eye fatigue,” says Zandre Rudolph, IT Manager of LG Electronics South Africa. “With almost-zero flicker technology, looking at your computer screen for longer periods of time is more comfortable.”
- Protect your eyes with special shades. ”Digital lenses” are purple-blue coated lenses that help to alleviate eye strain caused by continuous computer or tablet use by filtering out blue light emitted by LED lighting and digital screens. This can help you to sleep better at night (as blue light affects circadian rhythms, disrupting sleep patterns).
- Get moving. Taking regular breaks from your desk and incorporating gentle exercises and stretches into your day goes a long way to preventing back, neck, wrist and other pain. To combat wrist strain, do the “Buddha stretch” a few times per day. Put your palms together in a prayer position in front of your chest, fingers pointing upward. Keep your palms together and your elbows sticking out, and lower your hands until you feel a good stretch in your wrists. Hold for five seconds. To relieve tension in your neck and shoulders, face forward and tilt your right ear down toward your right shoulder, leaving your left arm hanging straight at your side. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the left side. Do this three or four times per side.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain at the office – whether it’s in your neck, head, shoulders, back or elsewhere, be sure to consult a doctor or a physiotherapist.