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Motion is Lotion: Thoracic and Neck Pain in Office Workers

Motion is Lotion: Thoracic and Neck Pain in Office Workers

Thoracic (the top half your back) and neck pain are one of the most common conditions we treat here in the clinic. It is particularly present in people who spend a large part of their day behind a desk or driving. It often comes on when people are particularly busy at work, and hence working longer hours with fewer breaks. Stress can also be a large factor. There are a few simple ways to reduce thoracic and neck pain.
  1. Ensuring your desk is properly set up for you.
Ideally, it is best to have someone experienced set it up for you, but for the time being, have the top of your screen at eye height, mouse close in and a supportive chair appropriate for your body shape and size.
  1. Taking regular breaks throughout your day.
I recommended getting up out of your chair every 30-45 minutes. A simple way of doing this it to make the effort to speak to your colleagues face to face rather than through emails.
  1. Regular stretching of your neck and back.
  2. Some form of daily exercise.
Personally, I usually don’t mind what it is people are doing as long as they spend 30 minutes a day doing an activity that elevates their heart rate, walking/running, swimming or gym-based workouts are all great options. The movement itself will help loosen your joints and muscles, whilst the increase in heart rate will increase circulation to help ‘flush out’ the sore tissues.
  1. Stand up desks can be very helpful.
I recommended alternating between sitting and standing every hour or so.
  1. Hands-on treatment from a qualified therapist can be a very good way to provide immediate pain relief.
  2. In the longer term, research shows us that the incidence of neck pain in office workers can be reduced by over 50% through a strength-based exercise program.
Your physiotherapist can take you through some specific exercises that have been shown to be effective.   In Short, our spines love movement, and so the lack thereof is often the cause of pain. So, remember Motion is Lotion, keep yourself moving as much as you can throughout your day and you will notice an improvement.

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