Has your routine been turned upside down with lockdown and working from home?
We’ve been talking to clients in the clinic that have been experiencing pain from:
· Playing with the kids all day and trying to home-school…
· Trying new ways to exercise or not exercising at all now that the gyms are closed…
· Trying to work from home at the same time without a proper desk or chair…
Shoulder tension and neck pain often creeps up on people without warning. People find it difficult to understand why they all of a sudden wake up one morning with a stiff neck or pain.
Research shows that it often manifests over time and due to an accumulation of repetitive daily habits, such as sleeping with two pillows, being on your phone/kindle in bed, spending all day looking at a computer screen, slouching on a couch and other habits that may have developed during lockdown.
Lots of these things might sound small, but like anything that is done repetitively, no matter how small a task, eventually the impact builds up causing pain, stiffness and tension.
Can you relate to this? If yes…you are not alone!
Here are some tips to help with daily, irritating neck and shoulder pain:
1. Choose ice over heat for neck pain
Use ice whenever you’re feeling achy or painful, such as at the end of a busy day. Apply ice for 15-20mins.
Heat works better when your neck or shoulder is more stiff than painful. For example, in the morning your neck and shoulder is likely feeling more stiff than painful. 10-15 minutes is sufficient.
2. Limit phone/kindle use in bed
Besides the fact its bad for your eyesight, prolonged use of phone screen time has been associated with increased neck pain and nerve symptoms down into the fingers. If you find your fingers or hands going numb then it’s definitely time to put the phone away.
Your neck is also already tired at the end of the day so if you are lying in bed or on the couch looking at your phone, you are further straining already tired ligaments.
3. Choose one pillow over two
The material of the pillow we use for sleeping is not as important as we think. You will see heavy advertising behind such items as orthopaedic or memory foam pillows. What is more important is the thickness or number of pillows we use. Lying on a very thick pillow or two pillows leads to chronic lengthening of the muscles at the back of the neck and shortening of the muscles at the front of the neck. This forward head posture can worsen over time and lead to pain in your 40s, 50s or 60s.
It might be difficult at first, especially if you are used to two pillows but drop down to one soft pillow if you can and you will notice the difference.
4. Opposing movements throughout the day.
We sit bent over at our desks. This again leads to lengthening and weakening of the muscles at the back of our neck and shoulders and shortening and tightening of the ones at the front. Add to this the fact you might be working from home at a table without a supportive chair or correct ergonomic set up. By regularly moving your muscles in the opposite direction to how they rest when you are sitting will minimise these imbalances. Check out our videos below on simple opposing movements to complete at your desk
To learn more, or speak to one of our physiotherapists email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 087-6156270.
Enjoy the sunshine.