Is your desk job a literal pain in the neck? Dr. Matthew Crooks of Pinnacle Pain and Spine feels you. “It’s the devices and the texting and computers – it’s sort of been good business for me, but it’s not good for everyone else,” he says with a laugh. “We even call it ‘tech neck.’” Crooks shares five tips for preventing neck and back pain at the office (and during your commute).
Check in with your self
“We’re not paying attention to how our posture is biomechanically,” Crooks says. “We’re looking down at our phones or computer all day.” Being aware of our bodies is the first step. “Posture affects breathing. Breathing affects posture.” He recommends light meditation.
Find proper posture
“Have the shoulders back, and the neck,” Crooks says “Imagine a string coming from the top of your head that’s lifting you up, and kind of extending your shoulders and your neck from there.”
Take a walk
Get away from your desk to do something physical – “yoga, walking, the treadmill, hiking” – even just for 10 minutes. At your desk or in the car, “shoulder rolls and neck extensions can help quite a bit.”
Snack on anti-inflammatory foods
Swap sugary and salty processed snacks for fresh fruit and vegetables. “Blueberries are terrific.” Crooks says. He also recommends turmeric-laced dishes for anti-inflammatory lunches.
Stand and work
“Standing desks can be very helpful if we’re mindful of the height…because we can also stand and lean forward,” he says. Stand with your arms and elbows at a 90-degree angle, shoulders back, neck back, and then make sure your screen aligns with your gaze.