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I sit and work in front a computer most of the day. I'm experiencing mild shoulder and neck pain and wonder what exercises I can do to prevent this discomfort? How long do I need to practice these exercises before I begin to notice the positive effects?

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replied October 27th, 2008
Back Pain Answer A4785
Neck and upper shoulder pains are extremely common, particularly amongst people who work at computers all day. Most experts agree that the root cause of this program is usually related to poor postural alignment when sitting, or your work station is not set up ideally for you. These two scenarios cause constant overuse of the muscles that stabilize your shoulders and neck, leaving them fatigued as well as in chronic contraction. So, what you need to focus on is activities that relax the muscles. Here are a few things that will help:

1. Make sure that your computer screen is at eye level when you are sitting upright in good posture. This encourages you to keep yourself reminded to sit upright.

2. The two most important postural "cues" you need are to pull your shoulder blades back toward your spine, and then down toward your mid back simultaneously. This aims to turn on the muscles that are opposite of the tight ones. When you turn on opposing muscles, the tight ones are essentially being stretched. I suggest you do this drill every hour on the hour while at work for at least 1-3 minutes.

3. On your lunch hour, if you have access to a microwave, use a warm compress or heat pack on the back of your neck and across your shoulders. This can do wonders for increasing circulation to the area, particularly if you add it to the other 2 things I have mentioned.

It should not take much time at all to notice a difference by doing this. In fact, you may notice it right away!


Sam Visnic

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