We regularly see clients complaining of neck and shoulder pain – and often those clients work long hours in mainly sedentary London office jobs. While massage can treat the symptoms, you often need to look for the cause. The number one cause is poor posture. Perhaps you are hunched over a laptop or computer reading this? Or craning your neck reading on a mobile or tablet? Bad sitting habits can easily lead to muscle stiffness and soreness in the neck and shoulders, and if you are reaching out to your keyboard, then possibly also to carpal tunnel syndrome. We thought a post about maintaining good sitting posture might be worthwhile
When sitting in your chair make sure that your back is properly supported by pushing your hips as far back into the chair as possible. You may find it more comfortable to use a pillow or cushion behind your back. Place your feet should flat on the floor and your knees level with your hips, or slightly lower (you might need a foot rest under your desk to raise your thighs). Make sure your phone, notebooks are in easy reach and you don’t need to stretch or twist to reach them
A correctly adjusted chair will reduce strain on your lower back, and most office chairs are easily adjustable – including height, back position and tilt (and perhaps lumbar support). Adjust the arm rests so that your shoulders are relaxed and upper arms vertical. Your wrists and forearms should be level with the desk and bent at the elbow at a right angle.
Try and sit so that your keyboard is directly in front of your body. Try tilting the keyboard up or down to keep a straight wrist position, if you are sitting in a slightly reclined position then tilt the keyboard forward. Try to keep your mouse close by – and use wrist rests in front of the mouse pad.
Try changing the height of your screen so that the top is just a couple of inches below eye level and that your neck is a neutral and relaxed position. You can always put your screen on a stand (or some books) to achieve this. The screen should be approximately arm’s length away and directly in front of you.
If you use the phone a lot during the day consider using a headset, and especially avoid cradling the handset between your shoulder and your ear – that can strain neck muscles.
It’s really important to take small breaks, move around and change position frequently to avoid repetitive strain injury. You could also try using self massage techniques (posts on that to come soon!). If you do find that you are suffering with pain from sitting at your computer all day, a massage can be very helpful in eliminating muscle knots and restoring muscle elasticity. It can also help to relieve many day to day problems like bad back, sprains, tension, postural issues, fatigue, lower back tightness, and repetitive strain injuries. A massage from us may well help the symptoms, but might not treat the cause. That said, more relaxed back and neck muscles do make it easier to adopt and improve your posture