Many of us work long days on the computer, reading, sitting, and staring at our phones. You’d be fortunate if you haven’t experienced some form of achiness or stiffness from this digital lifestyle! Tech-neck is affecting so spines and we want to give you some accessible tips to combat this. Working as chiropractors, we have noticed many people dealing with neck discomfort, postural concerns, and lacking energy. Does this sound like you?
1. Keep moving!
It’s pretty easy to get stuck for hours on end working on a big project or the merciless back-to-back meetings. Movement is the keystone to your body’s function. Setting an hourly timer for yourself to do your stretches or a short wander around your place will greatly help the stiffness from setting in. Of course, exercise is another great way to beat the desk blues. Releasing up-lifting endorphins, improving blood flow, and activating the go-getter part of your nervous system all have an amazing rebound effect of improved mood, healing, and stress relief. But don’t underestimate the power of an amazing walk. Exercise comes in all forms and it should be sustainable and enjoyable!
2. Conscious release
Have you ever been sitting at your desk and then all of a sudden you notice you’re in this crazy wound-up position? Your shoulders are basically up to your neck, or your neck has come down to your shoulders, slouching onto your hands and elbows, OH and you're so far slouched forward you might be mooning your neighbors! The stress of the day can build and our bodies get tired, so we resort to these lazy positions. After a couple of hours in this position, you can expect to feel some discomfort. We encourage people to consciously release this tense posture by bringing awareness to their breath. On your next exhale, relax your shoulders down, open your chest and gently bring your head back and up. Not only does this reset your posture, but it gives you a boost of energy, too. When you feel yourself slipping into this tense but lazy position, check in with your breath and actively let go of the muscles you feel getting tighter.
3. Get a good set-up
Desk ergonomics are so important. We are noticing that sit-stand desks are now becoming the norm! Which is great. The previous 2 tips will still need to be thought of in order to help. A simple rule of thumb for the home office: everything neutral! That means, bring up the middle or bottom of your monitor to eye level, keep your elbows at 90° and wrists relatively straight. Also, make sure you have your lower spine all the way back to the chair and a 90° bend in your knees (you may need a footstool!). We highly suggest getting a mat when standing for long periods at the desk, as it can help absorb the stress that your mighty feet take on each day.
4. Look up!
Have you heard of the movie “Don’t look UP”? We’re going to go against these apocalyptic recommendations and say that you should! In fact, looking down all day is a big contributor to your neck muscle tension. Did you know that for every inch your head moves in front of you it can add around an extra 15lbs of weight? This leads to early fatigue, tightness, and pain. We already mentioned your computer monitor, but what about your tablet, phone, tv, and books? Raise those higher too! So we highly recommend taking a minute to look up every so often throughout your day to give your hard-working spine a break.
5. Hot & Cold
Use the elements in your favor! We recommend for the first couple of days during an episode use cold. Although not ideal in winter, your body will thank you. Cold packs or gels will help decrease inflammation and the pain you’re experiencing. Using a hot water bottle, a heat bean bag, or taking a hot shower will be more beneficial if you have had neck discomfort for longer than a couple of days. So assess which element will be best for your case, if you’re unsure, cold is better!
Massage is a great addition to your self-care routine. Not only is it physically relaxing, helping long-held muscle and fascia tension, but it is also mentally really supportive. Taking the time to prioritize your health and well-being will definitely get you back in good spirits and more efficient than before.
7. Get your spine checked
As chiropractors, we are seasoned professionals in assessing the body through a neurostructural lens. This means that we look at how your nervous system is functioning while integrating the structural misalignments that can happen in the spine. Getting your spine checked is our best recommendation to beat any ails you may be facing. Although these previous tips certainly help, chiropractic works to address the root cause of the issue so it doesn’t continue to come back.
Arc of Life Natural Health Group
1318 Wellington West St
Ottawa, ON, Canada
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7:30 am - 12:00 pm
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