How to Reduce Neck Pain whilst Studying

I’m sure we can all relate to getting a sore neck when we’ve spent too much time on the iPad, laptop, or our phones.

I know my neck certainly put up with a lot whilst I was in VCE, and whilst at university studying osteopathy! Prolonged neck flexion (the position our head and neck is, when we’re looking down) can place a high amount of stress on the neck and upper back, leading to pain and discomfort, and commonly headaches. As you can see in the image below, the more we look down at a device, the heavier the head becomes on our necks. 


One way we can reduce the amount of tension in the neck whilst studying is to make sure we have an ergonomic desk set up. Below is a diagram depicting how we all should be sitting whilst studying. The most important thing to remember is to have the top third of your screen at eye level. If your screen isn’t at eye level and you’re having to look down to work or study, there is a higher likelihood for your back to round out, resulting in you being in a hunched position. This places an enormous amount of strain on your spine, which can lead to neck and back pain. Have a look at my blog ‘Tips for your desk ergonomics’ for more information.

There are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to help reduce the amount of neck pain when you’re studying. Give these a go whenever you’re experiencing neck or upper back pain whilst studying!

  1. Upper trap stretching 
  • Sit up nice and straight
  • Tilt your head to the right, trying to gently bring your right ear down to your right shoulder
  • Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side, tilting your head to the left
  • You know you’re doing this correctly when you can feel a gentle pulling sensation on the side of your neck
  • Repeat regularly when you are sitting at your desk
  1. Thoracic rotations 
  • With hands on opposite shoulders, inhale and rotate your torso as far as possible one way 
  • Pause, and exhale to return to centre
  • Be sure to keep your head in line with your spine as you rotate, do not over-rotate your neck
  • Repeat 5 times each way, regularly when sitting at your desk

 

 

As well as all of the above advice, it is important to have regular breaks from sitting. You should aim to get up from your desk every 90 minutes. Breaking up your studying with regular breaks will help to maintain your spinal range of motion, with the aim of reducing your study-related pain. 

Dr. Sarah Duggan (osteopath at Total Balance Health)

DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG POST IS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL ONLY.  IT IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR MEDICAL ADVICE FROM A REGISTERED AND QUALIFIED DOCTOR OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

 

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