- Check and correct your at-desk working posture
- Do some McKenzie neck exercises
- Learn to relax
With many of us in jobs requiring huge hours fused into position in front of the computer, neck tension and/or pain (‘tech neck’) has become endemic. Here’s some easy things you can do to help relieve tech neck.
Neck tension at best is annoying and at worst leads to headaches or migraines.
In fact, in our clinical experience 90% of all headaches and migraines come from neck tension. If you get your neck back to normal, your headaches should stop.
Three Main Problems
- Most people’s posture is poor with their heads extending too far forward. Just think of it as a 9 pound bowling ball sitting in the edge of a desk. If the ball is well balanced towards the edge of the desk it stays there with little or no effort. But if the ball is an inch too far over the edge of the desk, there is an enormous amount of weight and therefore effort required to keep it there. The muscles in your neck must hold back your head and are constant strain leading to chronic tension.
- We sit fused into one position for hours. Your neck muscles become locked into one position holding your bowling ball (head) back. The lack of movement impedes blood flow to your neck, which makes everything worse.
- We are so stressed. In Chinese medicine too much stress affects your liver function, which then makes your neck and shoulders really tight. In the clinic, we often need to treat the liver as well as the neck to resolve tension and pain.
Self-Correcting ‘Tech Neck’
- Check and Correct Your at-Desk Working Posture
- Your screen height must be at your eye level. Looking down while working on laptops is a real no-no.
- Set up your chair and desk to allow you to sit straight (with hips and knees at 90 degree angles) and with your forearms level with or above the height of your keyboard as you type (this helps you relax your shoulders as you type).
- Move More Often
- Every 30 minutes just roll your shoulders (in both directions) five times while at your desk
- Twice a day, do some McKenzie neck exercises:
- Step #1: While sitting pull your chin and your head back (like you are flattening the back of your neck against a wall)
- Step #2: While your chin is in and your neck is back, turn your head all the way to the left and hold it for a few seconds
- Step #3: Return your head to facing forward and then release your head forward back to its natural position
- Repeat to the right
- Do 5-10 reps
- Note: do these exercises in a relaxed fashion and discontinue (or don’t turn as far) if you experience any pain
- Spend Some Time Relaxing
- Stress affects your Liver, which then affects your neck and shoulders.
- Every 30 minutes take 3 long slow and deep breaths using your stomach (rather than your chest). You will feel it starting to melt your stress away.
- Take a walk out in nature. Make it your routine to go for a 15 minute walk at lunch time in the park and again when you get home. Just try it!
For many people, these simple strategies will help resolve neck tension issues. But for some it won’t be enough and they will need some help.
Chronic neck issues mean that your central nervous system (whose job it is to keep you pain-free) has stopped working properly for your neck leaving it in a permanent state of tension.
No amount of massage will fix this. It may also mean that your liver needs specific help to return to normal function.
You will need acupuncture to help recalibrate your body’s central nervous system to do its job.
Acupuncture does this like no other form of therapy. In fact, for most people, they experience substantial relief within moments of receiving acupuncture. See more about how this works here.
Book in for your FREE Neck Assessment
At this 15 minute appointment, we assess your neck for free by:
- Getting the background to your neck issues.
- Checking your range of motion.
- Checking specific muscle tension.
- Carry out Medical Pulse Diagnosis.
We will then advise you if we can help you and how we will do it.
Book your FREE Neck Assessment here. Find it under ‘Free Consultations‘.