Pain in the neck at work?
Work can be a pain in the neck – literally and metaphorically speaking. There are parts of the job that ail us physically, whether you’re slugging heavy objects around in manual labor or idling leisurely behind your desk, the first place most of us feel it is right in the neck. And then there are the annoying parts of the job that ail us mentally.
Quill asked its Facebook audiences their top “pains in the neck,” and came up with a list of solutions to help make your workday just a little more comfortable.
1. Sitting all day staring at a computer
Sitting all day seems like leisure, but anyone with a desk job can attest that it’s anything but. As humans, we weren’t meant to sit all day – and our bodies know it and are constantly fighting it. Eight hours of typing can really wear on the neck and shoulders. Instead of sitting all day, check out standing desks and use them to help alleviate neck pain due to computer work. And if you can’t make a standing desk happen, then get up every hour and walk around for at least 5 minutes. Go grab a drink, make a pit stop at the restroom or chat with a coworker. Just move.
2. Get a stand
If you’ve got a monitor, and chances are you do if you work in an office, then make sure you’ve got a stand for it. Why? Because neck pain from computer work and prolonged laptop usage encourages atrocious posture. Nothing is worse for your neck than constantly and consistently looking down, shoulders hunched. Get yourself a stand and bring those spreadsheets to eye level. Worst case scenario, if you can’t find a stand, stack sturdy boxes beneath your monitor to raise it to the right level for your seated height. Your neck will thank you for it.
3. Take a load off
If your gig involves being on your feet all day, then you’re just as prone to bad posture as the person sitting down all day. Consider getting orthopedic insoles or shoes to help create comfort and positive posture from the feet up. Or, at least sit for a few minutes every hour to give your legs a break. After all, the whole body is connected and poor lower body posture can directly affect the upper body.
4. Massage is the message
Whether you’re standing or sitting the majority of your workweek, one thing is a universal relief for both situations – a massage. A monthly massage, or even quarterly, can greatly help relieve that built-up neck pain and promote flexibility. If you don’t get a massage regularly or if you’ve never had one, do so. The results will speak for themselves.
5. A comfortable chair goes a long way
Office chairs aren’t created equally. Some ride too high, some too low, and some offer zero lumbar support or lack any cushion for the ol’ glutes. If any of this sounds like your own desk chair, get a new one immediately or learn how to set up your office chair to reduce back pain. Your body doesn’t deserve to be subjected to discomfort for 40 hours or more per week. And if getting a new chair isn’t feasible, consider getting a footrest for your legs to help ease the pain in your lower back and increase your overall posture.
6. Fridge food theft
Nothing is more annoying than looking forward to that leftover pizza you brought to work only to find that someone decided to make it his or her lunch. You panic. You get angry. You make new lunch plans. Instead, make sure your lunch is always labeled or packed within your own lunchbox. That should be a telltale sign that tells your coworkers, “keep your taste buds to yourself, this food is mine.”
7. Lights in the office
A highly debatable topic in offices across the globe. Lights on or off? Some love the shine of fluorescent overhead lighting. Others love the mellow tranquility of dim lamps. Whether you’re pro or anti office light, try to work out a compromise. Maybe half the week the lights are flipped on, the other half shut off. And if they’re too bright, just wear some sunglasses inside. Corey Hart wore them at night, what’s so weird with wearing them inside?
8. Shut your symbolic office door
Not everyone has an office door they can shut to keep the volume down and the distractions out. But a lot of companies now allow employees to wear headphones at work. Just think of them as your personal office door. When they go on, it’s like a sign that says, “Keep out. I’m busy.” And if you’re battling getting along with different personalities in the workplace, try these solutions.
9. Your boss
You’re not the first and you won’t be the last person to call their boss the biggest pain in the neck at work. Whether it’s differing styles of work or he or she just rides you every live-long day, all you can really do is try to have an open conversation with him or her to at least try to find yourself on the same page. Or go to HR if there are more pressing issues. Because an unhealthy boss-employee relationship is a fast track to seeing yourself out the door.
10. Not having the tools you need to do your job
Work can be extremely frustrating if you don’t have the tools you need to efficiently and effectively do your job. Whatever it is you need, start by making a case for it. Document activities, gather evidence, give a hands-on demonstration – whatever it takes. It will only help you in the long run because you can’t get something if you don’t ask for it. And if it’s the office printer, everyone’s arch nemesis, then check out this article for help.
Whatever neck pain at work you suffer from, physical or metaphorical, hopefully this list gives you a proactive nudge in the right direction for solutions to work out the kinks.