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Health and You

Do you work on the computer or at a desk a lot?
Feel tense and stressed out while you’re working?
Do your neck and shoulders ache?

Here’s my fixes that will help you out.

If you use a computer, have a look at how your monitor and keyboard are positioned. You should be able to use them without leaning over, or dipping the head. The keyboard and mouse should be placed so that you can use them without twisting the body or reaching. Try placing them in line with your body position and on a book or some magazines to raise them up (the Yellow Pages are always quite useful!!!). Make sure that you are sat at the correct height too – an adjustable chair is always handy for this. (This also applies to working at a desk).

Try to sit in a natural position, with the shoulders back and down and the head positioned directly above the body. Hey it may sound daft but your head is actually the heaviest part of the body and if it leans forwards, all the extra weight pulls and puts extra pressure on your back and neck. Imagine your carrying a bowling ball – how much heavier would it feel if you held it in an outstretched position as opposed to close in towards the body? The principle is exactly the same for your head, so keep that chin tucked in so you are looking directly ahead.

If you use the phone a lot – be aware if you hold it in between the head and the shoulder (think about the position that your head and shoulder is in, that really can’t feel comfortable). Try actually holding the phone or use a headset instead.

If you find that while you are working your shoulders creep up towards the ears and your body begins to hunch over, set a reminder (an alarm or something that pops up on screen) for every 20-30 minutes and try to reposition yourself.

You could get up, have a walk around the desk, do a couple of shoulder/neck exercises (see below), and then sit back down feeling more refreshed and less achy. Gradually your body will get used the position you should be sitting in and you will find that your neck and shoulders will not ache so much (be aware that it may take a long time to retrain your body and it won’t be easy, especially if you have been sitting incorrectly for a number of years).

Shoulder/Neck Exercises

Picture of Louise Simms

· Shoulder rolls – forwards and backwards
· Shoulder lifts
· Head tilts (ear to shoulder)
· Roll the head from one side to the other and back again
· Lift and lower the head (don’t lift the head all the way back though)
· Turn the head side to side
· Chest stretch (hands on the lower back and squeeze the elbows together)

Just a good stretch will always help too.