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Pain In Neck and Shoulder, Get Easy Relief

 Have you ever awakened in the morning with a stiff neck and a cramp in your shoulder and upper arm? It might have been your pillow, or your mattress, or a bad habit of twisting your hand under your chin as you sleep. Or it might have been all those hours you spend sitting in one position at your desk or computer, without taking a break. Or, it might be all of the above. Too much physical stress! What a pain in the neck and shoulder!

 Sometimes it's hard to believe when all we're doing is sitting still, but our work habits can play havoc with our joints, muscles and tendons. Our poor habits can deliver pain in neck and shoulder and even lower back, that is sometimes so severe, we are actually laid up with it. No fun!

 Uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating pain that occurs from that 8-plus hour workday can be avoided!

 I want to ask you a few pertinent questions. What are your conditions at work? There are traceable reasons for a pain in neck and shoulder. Is your computer at eye level, so you don't have to look up or down in order to see the screen? Is your keyboard at the same level as your elbows, so that you can type without putting strain on your wrists and arms? Do you rest your elbows on a comfortable armrest that keeps you in proper alignment with your keyboard and minimizes stress on your wrists? Are you all scrunched up at your desk and leaning forward to see your monitor screen, thus putting stress on your lower back? Do you have to twist your body in order to read a document? Do you have enough light? Is it coming from the right source? These are all conditions that all of us experience in our workplaces, whether at home or at an outside office. And we need to address these conditions because not remedying the conditions, will continue to cause you pain in neck and shoulder, lower back, wrists, and hips, etc.

 Good posture at your work station is not just for good looks. Sure, you look more attractive sitting up straight, but, even more important than looking great, is the long term benefits of good posture and proper alignment. Good posture will preserve your health and well being. Good posture will prevent more serious physical stress related disorders later on. What's more, it's not hard to maintain. Good posture is "key" whether you are at a desk, in the kitchen cooking, sitting in a chair reading a good book, or even sleeping, for that matter.

 There is a whole science devoted to the relationship of the body to objects that come into contact with that body. It is called ergonomics or human engineering. There are wonderful furnishings available that address keeping the body in proper alignment when engaged in ordinary, everyday activities. There are superb ergonomic chairs, desks, computer tables, lighting, mouse pads and wrist rests, document stands, chef's knives, binoculars...just about anything that comes into contact with the human body in any use. A good ergonomically designed chair can change your life for the better, and rid you of pain in neck and shoulder. I speak from personal experience. I'm accustomed to an 11 hour workday and have suffered from pain in neck and shoulder and lower back for years. I've experienced pinched nerves, sciatica, and more. I was so uncomfortable, I actually thought I was seriously ill.  Then I did some homework and discovered "ergonomics". I researched the best chairs available to alleviate this discomfort. No one enjoys suffering.

 There's a combination of things you can do to alleviate the pain in neck and shoulder and back. You must break from your work every 50 minutes or so, stand up, walk around, get something to drink, and do some gentle stretching exercises that can be easily done at your desk. My favorite exercise is the neck roll. Sit straight in your chair, bend your chin to your chest and slowly roll your head to the left shoulder, gently around (in a circular motion) to your right shoulder, then down to your chest again. Do it a couple times, then reverse the action. Then gently roll both shoulders back a few times, then forward, lifting them, then lowering them in the same gentle fluid motion. Then grab your hands behind your back and lift them up behind you as high as you can without straining. That's a trick I learned at Pilates. Now, stand up and bend forward from the waist and let your arms dangle. Let gravity pull your arms to the floor. Don't force it. This will relieve some of the stress in your lower back. Remember to keep your knees slightly bent.

 Here are some of the best ergonomically designed office chairs I could find in the market.

 1. Embody Chair by Herman Miller

    This is the first chair that supports both your mind and body. It's loaded with health benefits! It was designed to increase blood circulation and improve the flow of oxygen, and even decrease your heart rate.

 2. Swopper by Via

 This is an innovative chair, actually a stool, that allows continuous motion while in a seated position. Would be great for dentists and crafts people.

 3. Ab Stool

 This is a uniquely supportive stool. It has a soft, pillow backrest that can smoothly swivel around and become an ab rest. It's perfect for doctors and dentists, or anyone who has to lean forward to perform tasks.

 4. Aeron Chair by Herman Miller

 The Aeron chair is the ultimate fine ergonomic solution for your tired sore neck and back. This chair is highly regarded as inherently very comfortable due to its wide range of fit. It is available in 3 sizes and is adjustable. The Aeron chair has gained a spot in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. I believe it is considered the quintessential fine ergonomic chair.

 You really don't have to live with pain in neck and shoulder, or lower back, or hands and wrists (as in carpal tunnel). It would be a very practical and wise maneuver to own a good ergonomic chair and save yourself much grief and discomfort, plus valuable work time. A good chair makes all the difference in how you feel and how you perform.


-Joan Saloomey

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