A pain in the neck

  • 5 March 2018
  • Sally Murray

Did you know that sitting is the new smoking?! Well okay, sitting isn't going to give you lung cancer, but all that sitting makes for a really grumpy neck and back, and for some a lifetime of pain.

"But I can't help it" I hear you cry, "it's my job."

Well, with a little imagination and willing heart it's easy to introduce a little more movement into your day. Research tells us that 70% of our day needs to be on our feet for good spinal health. However for most of us we sit to eat breakfast, commute, work, eat some more, then curl up on the sofa with the TV/laptop etc. Even if you fit in a gym session (which is great, don't get me wrong), it still leaves the majority of your day on your bottom, squishing that spine.

So here's my top 5 tips:

1. When you take a phone call or a colleague comes to speak to you stand up. Simple. 

2. Make sure the middle of your screen is at eye height when looking directly in front of you. I know loads of you have 2 screens but you get the idea, screens that are the wrong height are renowned for causing neck pain.

3. Be warned the poking chin!  Often when we get engrossed in our work our chin gets closer to the screen. Resist! Reel it back in for a happy neck. While you're at it, bring your elbows closer to your side too (even if you have to release some more cable for your mouse to reach). That neck will thank you I promise.

4. Sit on a wobble cushion. They introduce movement into your day without you even trying (and is much more subtle than a Swiss ball). Start with 20 minutes every hour and build up to all day.

5. Go the whole hog and buy a standing desk. Again, stand for 30 minutes or so, then sit for a while and repeat throughout the day, until you build up your stamina to stand all day. I'm typing this on my Ikea standing desk which is loads cheaper than more flashy versions, but has a crank handle instead of hydraulics. The best bit is that you will actually burn calories standing working...win/win!


About Sally Murray

Sally Murray BSc (hons) Physiotherapy MCSP HCPC Sally trained 25 years ago in the wonderful city of Newcastle Upon Tyne where she learnt her trade and became fluent in Geordie! She joined the hand therapy unit, taking her level one hand therapist qualification before moving down to St.George’s teaching hospital in London to hone her skills in all things sports and spinal, including working pitch side for a local rugby team. After the birth of her first son 16 years ago she began to develop an interest in the area of Women’s Health, particularly the postural changes the body goes through in pregnancy, and the associated problems that creates. For the last 15 years, alongside treating sports and spinal injuries, she has lead the Women’s health team at Balance Performance Physiotherapy in London. She has a special interest in Pelvic Girdle Pain, Diastasis Recti (separation in your abdominal muscles) and post natal rehabilitation. She is also a very experienced kettlebell coach with a passion to get mums strong enough to do what they need to do. Sally is joining the team after relocating to Derby with her husband and 3 children. Together they are starting a social enterprise selling ice-cream and working with survivors of human trafficking. She loves family, fair-trade chocolate and enthusiastic people and intends to get into the peaks as regularly as life will allow!

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