Neck pain is an extremely common occurrence with cases presenting from a range of different occupations both sedentary and active. By far the most frequent presentation comes from those who work in an office environment or are studying in front of a computer most of the day. Tightness throughout the neck muscles can additionally lead to pain/reduced mobility in the neck, headaches, blurred vision and general mental fatigue. Luckily, these symptoms, if neck related, can be easily avoided!
To first understand how this happens, let’s look at the anatomy of the neck muscles.
There are many muscles that attach onto the neck however two of the largest and most powerful are the trapezius (highlighted in red) and splenis capitus muscles. As can be seen, the trapezius has 3 muscle fibre directions – the upward direction at the top, the horizontal in the middle and the downward direction at the bottom. It is the upward muscles that contribute greatly to the pulling on the base of the skull and can lead to tightness in the neck. This pulling arises when we sit with the shoulder blades forward.
• Posture – sit with your shoulder blades flat against the back of your chair. Try to ensure your back rest is back about 15-20 degrees so you can lean back slightly and bring the chair right in toward the desk. This will then assist to prevent keeping the shoulders and neck from stooping forward.
• Keeping mobile – move every 15-30 minutes. Get up, walk around for a minute, look left and right as far as you can 3x and finally, squeeze your shoulder blades back and together 3x then relax. These simple exercises and postural positioning might not seem like much but done every 30 minutes they will ensure you minimise any potential neck tightness and will reduce the risk of getting that end of day headache from staring at the screen!
• Seek the right help – If your neck pain persists or if you’d like a more in depth assessment and treatment program get in touch with one of our friendly Physiotherapists and they will gladly help ease the neck tightness and introduce some exercises to reduce the risk of recurrence.
If you have neck pain, contact Core Healthcare on 1300 012 273 for an assessment today