Neck and shoulder pains are common, especially after the age of 30. Many causes of neck and shoulder pain are work and position related. As many adults work in offices, sitting at computers, we are prone to poor head and neck posture, which places us at risk for neck and shoulder pain.
In fact, in a research study examining the prevalence of neck, shoulder, arm and hand pain for 264 computer workers over a one year time frame, researchers found that 54% of employees reported some level of discomfort over the year. Most of the complaints of pain were found in the regions of the neck and shoulders (Eltayeb et. al, 2007).
So, what are the causes of neck and shoulder pain, and what can be done about it?
1. Poor Positioning at Work
As already mentioned, prolonged positioning looking over a computer screen can lead to neck and shoulder pain. What happens is overuse muscle strain of the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and neck. It is essential that you look away from your computer screen at least every 20 minutes. In addition, your desk should be properly aligned ergonomically.
Try to make sure that your knees and hips form a 90-degree angle when sitting. Your arms should reach the keyboard comfortably, with your shoulders relaxed and your elbows at a 90-degree angle. You should look straight ahead at your screen, instead of looking up or looking down. Ensuring proper body alignment at your desk will decrease the overuse tension created. Try to get up and take a walk several times during your day as well, which will alleviate some of the tension that builds when working at a desk.