“70% of people experience neck pain at some point in their lives.”
Office workers and computer users are at the highest incidence of neck pain among all professionals. There is an increase in the risk for developing neck pain for people who spend most of their day sitting at work. Duration of computer use, frequency of breaks, method of keyboard operation, position of computer monitors, and type and use of input devices are associated with neck pain at work. Neck pain is common for those maintaining a poor posture with slouched shoulders and head leaning forward. Not long ago, patients with neck pain would have been told to rest or maybe use a neck brace, or would have given a few tablets to pop and wait until the pain had ebbed away. But there is a change in the scenario from the past years about the line of treatment for neck pain. Medical professionals now recommend movement instead of rest.
A study described in Neck and Shoulder Pain, suggest there are mounting scientific evidence for the role of stretching, muscle strengthening and body re-aligning exercises in treating people with neck pain. A short period of exercise can help loosen up tight muscles and bring the body back into proper alignment. Combined with good workplace ergonomics and proper posture, a short daily fitness break in your day could help minimize your work-related neck pain and significantly increase your health and productivity. For example, after a whiplash injury, people heal sooner and are less likely to develop chronic pain if they start gentle exercise as soon as possible. For those with long-term pain (called chronic pain), results from controlled studies show that exercise provides significant relief.
If you’re interested in using exercise to help relieve neck pain, make sure you get help from a physiotherapist who can create an individualized exercise program based on your pain severity, limitation of movement, and current strength. The program should have clearly stated goals and include stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as exercises to improve how you use your neck muscles. Ideally, if you are working with a physical therapist for cervical or neck pain, he or she will guide you through appropriate exercises, motivating you to work hard enough to see positive results but not so hard as to cause further injury. Before you exercise independently, make sure you understand which exercises to do and how to do them safely. Ask for written instructions and appropriate clarifications if you are still unsure.
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