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Do You Have A Stiff Neck
Do you suffer from frequent pain in the neck and shoulder? then its time to be a little careful about your body posture.
Human Beings were never meant to sit at the desk. We were meant to hunt, wander around in search of food. Instead we spend all our working day searching Google.com. A desk-job is not without its perils. Ten hours on a desk is enough to give anyone a headache. But what about the neck, shoulders, lower back and wrists?

"Stiffness in the neck, shoulders, back and wrists is a common enough problem. Try holding your arm up for three minutes. It will start hurting at the end of it. That happens because your muscles tend to become tense because of inactivity and go into spasm. One gets to see of lot of such problems these days," says Dr Sanjay Agarwala, chief of surgery, head of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at P D Hinduja National Hospital, Mahim.

Lack of exercise and general activity, lack of a straight posture, incorrect seating and oddly placed computers, nestling the phone between your shoulder and ear for long phone conversations, are some reasons most working people face such problems. Moreover, ignoring persistent aches and lack of preventive steps aggravates the problem further.

So here are some tips to prevent orthopedic disasters caused due to long hours of sitting at a desk

Adjust your screen.
Keep your computer screen facing you straight. The top of screen has to be at eye level. You shouldnt need to bend your neck or lift it or tilt it to the side to read the screen. Even a slight bent or tilt to the computer can give rise to a painful stiff neck.

Adjust your chair.
The height of your chair should be such that your feet should comfortably touch the ground when your lower back touches the backrest. Your legs should bend at right angles to your calves and the backrest should be at right angles to the seat.

Sit upright.
We know it is tempting to just recline but sitting upright has a lot of advantages. An upright posture is the best for the lower back and neck.

Support your lower back.
As a rule, your back should be in a 90 degrees angle to your thighs. Use a small pillow at the bottom of the backrest to keep your lower back upright. Always, no matter how tired you may be, sit with your lower back touching the backrest.

Use a footrest.
If possible keep a small stool at office to put your feet up. This is both relaxing and will not put pressure on your back and shoulders. Keeping your feet dangling can put a lot undue stress on tendons.

More important tips:
Rest your arms on the armrest of the chair. Most of us tend to rest our wrists on the table while keeping the lower arm suspended. But it is better to rest your elbows and lower arms.

Never talk on the phone with the earpiece resting between your ear and shoulder. It is biggest cause of a stiff shoulder.

Keep your shoulders relaxed at all times.

Try to walk around and stand at least once every half hour.

Stretch it a bit
Dr Shivangi Borkar from the physiotherapy department at Hinduja suggests some simple stretching exercises that will ease aches during office hours

Stretch your hands out to shoulder level and slowly raise them. Then lower them down. Try this for five times. Then stretch your hands forward and spread them outward.

Swing your arms in circular motion on the sides of the chair.

Shrug your shoulders forward and then move them backward. Try this five times. Then shrug your shoulder upwards and downwards.

Stretch your stiff shoulder in a circular manner. It will ease the tension. Try this five times.

Move your neck on the left and hold. Then move it to the right. Move your neck up and then down.

Then do this in circular motion.

Move your wrists in an upward and downward and then in circular motion.

Arch your ankles up and down. Move them in a circular motion.

Curl and uncurl your toes.

The idea of the stretching exercises is to maintain flexibility of muscles and joints and prevent them from getting stiff. Once you get used to doing these, itll almost become an involuntary action.
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Posted on : 11/11/2005
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