sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Best Ways to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain from Computer Use

By Camilla Moore September 22, 2022 Health and Fitness

Do you spend hours at your computer every day? If so, you’re probably familiar with the pain and tension that can build up in your neck and shoulders. This blog post will discuss some of the best ways to relieve neck and shoulder pain from computer use. It will also provide some tips for preventing pain from occurring in the first place.

Why Do I Get Neck and Shoulder Pain with Computer Use?

Neck and shoulder pain with computer use is a result of sitting for long periods in the same position. So often, we lean forward to look at the computer monitor directly and forget about proper posture or neck position.

Over time, our body adapts to our position, and our shoulders roll forward, our head moves closer to the screen, and our low back starts to collapse as the force of gravity kicks in. Pain from this posture most commonly manifests in the neck and shoulders and can lead to headaches and back pain.

Let’s take a look at how to avoid all this!

Make Sure You Have an Ergonomic Setup

If you work at a computer, it’s essential to have an ergonomic setup to avoid neck and back pain. So, the first step is to make sure you have a good posture.

  1. Sit up straight with your shoulders down and relaxed.
  2. Your forearms should be approximately parallel to the ground, and your wrists should be in a neutral position. You may need to adjust your chair height or use a small pillow to achieve this.
  3. Position your keyboard and mouse, so you don’t have to reach too far for them. Again, your wrists should be neutral when using these devices.
  4. Position the monitor so it is at eye level and your head can maintain a neutral position.
  5. Place your feet flat on the floor. If necessary, add a small footstool to rest them comfortably.
  6. A small pillow behind your lower back provides additional support to the lumbar spine and will help to maintain a relaxed posture.
  7. Take breaks often to get up and move around. Walking for just a few minutes every hour can help reduce tension in your muscles.

By following these tips, you can help create an ergonomic setup that will keep you comfortable all day long.

Standing Desks for Neck Pain

Spending hours hunched over a computer can take a toll on your upper back muscles and lead to neck pain. Standing desks are one way to avoid neck pain.

Standing desks can help with posture and prevent neck pain by:

  • strengthening the upper back muscles
  • keeping the head and neck in alignment to reduce tension and avoid pain
  • increasing circulation and reducing fatigue

If you spend much time using a computer, consider investing in a standing desk to help avoid neck pain.

Support Your Neck at Night

Maintaining good posture is essential for overall health, but it can be challenging when you’re stuck at a desk all day. One way to combat poor posture is to use a supportive pillow, such as a neck pillow or a lumbar pillow. These pillows help to align the spine and relieve pressure on the neck and shoulders.

Maintaining healthy sleep habits at night and healthy energy levels throughout the day will also help to maintain proper posture and stamina while at the computer.

Stretching Exercises for Neck Muscles

One of the leading causes of neck pain is poor posture while reading or working at a desk. Taking breaks every 20 minutes to stretch your neck and shoulders will help alleviate the build-up of tension. Here are a few easy exercises to perform at your computer:

Neck Rolls

  1. Sit in a chair with your back straight and your arms at your sides.
  2. Slowly roll your head to the right, then to the left.
  3. Tilt your chin toward your chest, then roll your head back to look up at the ceiling.
  4. Finally, circle your head clockwise, then counterclockwise.

Doing neck rolls a few times daily can help improve your posture and alleviate neck pain. However, if you experience severe pain or stiffness, you must consult a professional for medical advice.

Neck Stretches

  1. Start by sitting or standing up straight, and having good posture while reading is essential to avoid neck pain and prevent slouching.
  2. Slowly tilt your head to the side, using your hand to help guide it if necessary.
  3. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds before returning your head to the starting position.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Stretching your neck to the side is a simple way to alleviate tension and pain in the neck and shoulders. Incorporating this stretch into your daily routine can help improve your posture and prevent stiffness and soreness.

Full Body Stretch

Stretching your whole body can feel great, and it’s an excellent way to prevent neck pain. Here’s how to do a full body stretch in extension with arms up overhead:

  1. Start by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, reach your arms up overhead.
  3. Interlace your fingers, and then turn your palms to face away from you.
  4. Gently push your palms away from you as you continue to reach upward. At the same time, lengthen your spine by pressing down through your heels and reaching the crown of your head toward the ceiling.
  5. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds, breathing the entire time deeply. Then release and repeat 2-3 times.

Remember to consult a professional if you experience severe pain or stiffness. These exercises are meant to alleviate tension and pain, but they do not replace professional medical advice.

Utilize Technology

Technology can help reduce the time spent at the computer and make that time more efficient. If you’ve never considered some of the software or apps available, let this introduce how technology can help with neck and shoulder pain at the computer.

AI Software

Though you may not know it, you likely use artificial intelligence daily. For example, your smartphone uses AI to recognize your voice and respond to commands. And when you ask your assistant to play music or set a timer, AI is at work again.

AI is even being used to create content. That’s right – AI writing tools can now generate blog posts, articles, projects, and presentations. You need to provide a prompt, and the AI will do the rest.

These tools use natural language processing to understand the prompt and generate relevant content. As a result, you can have a finished piece that sounds like a human wrote it in just a few minutes. In addition, the top AI software is both easy to use and easy to learn.

So, if you’re ever in need of content and short on time, consider using an AI writing tool. It’ll have your back – and save your neck from all that extra typing!

Voice-Activated Software

Voice-activated software, also known as voice recognition software, is a technology that allows users to control a computer or other device using their voice.

The technology works by converting spoken words into text, which can then be used to perform various actions. To use voice-activated software, users must first train the software to recognize their voice. This is typically done by reading a series of prescribed words or phrases aloud.

Once the software has been trained, it can be used to perform a variety of tasks, such as opening applications, typing text, and even controlling web browsers.

Voice-activated software is becoming increasingly popular as it offers a hands-free way to interact with computers and other devices.

Furthermore, the technology is continually evolving and can now recognize a broader range of voices and accents.

Apps for Taking a Break

When working, it’s easy to get caught up in what we’re doing and lose track of time. This can lead to us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. We must take breaks throughout the day to relax and rejuvenate ourselves.

Thankfully, there are now several apps that can help us do just that. These apps can remind us to take a break and offer a variety of activities to help us relax. For example, some apps provide guided meditation, while others offer calming music or nature sounds.

Some apps offer virtual reality experiences that can transport us to another place. With so many options available, there’s sure to be an app that can help you take a break at work and reduce stress.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How often are you at the computer? Do you notice neck and shoulder pain? What do you do to alleviate it? Has anything particular been of help?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hannan Ahmad

Addressing neck and shoulder pain stemming from prolonged computer use requires proactive and reactive measures. Maintaining an ergonomic workspace is paramount to prevent postural degradation exacerbating musculoskeletal strain. The cascading effects of slouching, from forward-rolling shoulders to the advancing head, highlight the importance of dynamic interventions like stretching exercises. Offering practical drills such as neck rolls and full-body stretches provides immediate relief, and fosters sustained wellness. Furthermore, integrating technology through AI software to minimize manual typing or voice-activated systems is a testament to the blend of health consciousness with innovation. Prioritizing one’s posture in the workspace and during rest can significantly modulate the repercussions of our digital age. Encouraging regular breaks and using apps to foster relaxation emphasizes a comprehensive approach to overall health.

The Author

Dr. Camilla Moore is a Lifestyle Medicine Chiropractor and a freelance medical and health writer. She is a self-published author and you can read her other articles at her blog, The Wellness Cabinet where she writes about exercise, fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness.

You Might Also Like