You have probably heard the warnings about how your office posture is affecting your neck and back. Well, they’re true. Spending 8 hours hunched over a computer or a stack of paper strains the neck by forcing it to hold up the head, which is quite heavy, as it extends forward. One solution is to raise your computer monitor to eye level, and holding papers up to eye level as well. When using the phone, try to use the speaker function or a hands-free device whenever possible so you don’t tuck the phone between shoulder and ear.
While at your desk, make a conscious effort to maintain a neutral position, with your head directly above your shoulders and your chin level, not tucked close to the chest or raised up. Shoulders back, chest out – the idea is to keep your spine in as straight and neutral a position as possible. And, as always, take frequent breaks to stretch or walk around.
Your posture as you sit in the car can also contribute to neck pain, so adjust that seat as well. The headrest should be centered at the back of the head, rather than too high, which pitches the head forward, or too low, which tilts it backward. A bonus benefit is that it can help prevent whiplash if you are in an impact or stop the car suddenly.
The way you sleep might need some changes too. Sleeping on the stomach is comfortable for some people, but it’s not comfortable for their neck; resting on your side or back makes it easier to keep the spine straight, whereas being on your stomach twists it. If your pillow is quite high or firm, consider switching it out for a flatter one, which allows your neck to be straight. If you tend to sleep on your side, you can tuck a pillow under your neck to raise it to the same level as your head. A memory foam pillow that adjusts to your body’s contours is another option. Again, in order to prevent neck pain, the best position for your spine and neck is as straight as possible.