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If You Work at a Desk, You'll Want to Try These Neck and Shoulder Exercises

Do you work at Desk? Do you have neck and shoulder pain?

If you work at a desk for most of the day, you've probably experienced neck and shoulder pain at some point. Learn why this happens and what you can do to prevent this!

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There are 3 main factors that will lead a desk bound worker to experiencing shoulder and neck pain:

  • Environmental Adaption: The human body adapts to the position that we assume for most of the day. If you sit and allow your back to round or arch backward while working, your tissues and joints will adapt to that posture, making it difficult for you to get into better position later.
  • Computer/Mouse: Working at a computer with a mouse can cause tremendous strain on your shoulders. This often happens when the computer and/or mouse is in a position that requires you to activate muscles unnecessarily.
  • Trigger Points : A trigger point is a hyper-irritable spot in the body, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle which is painful on compression and can give rise to referred pain.

How to Resolve Neck and Shoulder Pain?

If You Work at a Desk, You'll Want to Try These Neck and Shoulder Exercises

Kill the root cause of pain at desk

  1. Use elbow and wrist support to make it easier for your arms, neck, upper back and shoulders. Position the keyboard so you don’t have to hold the weight of your arms out in front of you and elbows are supported.
  2. Get the monitor up high enough to your eye level, so you can sit up with your head balanced on your neck, not with your neck bent and your head hanging forward.
  3. Use touchpad mouse that requiring only a light tip on the pad to execute a click to prevent contracting the finger and forearm muscles.
  4. Get up for 5 minutes every hour and move around. Muscles need a certain amount of contraction and relaxation to stay healthy.

Use a ball (like a tennis or lacrosse ball) against a wall

Place a ball over your shoulder in the upper back. Leaving your back leaning on the ball against the wall, step your feet out away from the wall, hug yourself and roll the ball up and down. Wherever you experience a tender or painful spot, hold on, allow the ball to dig in the spot and continue breathing with deep inhale and exhale till the tenderness or pain reduces.

Posterior neck mobilization with a tennis or lacrosse ball 

Against a wall, position the ball on the back of the neck between shoulder and ear. Slowly roll the ball up to the base of the skull and down to the base of the back of the neck against the wall. To make it more effective you can perform this mobility by lying on your back on the floor and then place one hand on your forehead to add pressure. Slowly rotate your head to the side, rolling the ball along the base of your skull to your ear.

If You Work at a Desk, You'll Want to Try These Neck and Shoulder Exercises

Shoulder mobilization at desk

The objective of shoulder mobilization is to get your arms behind your back to restore normal function of your shoulders. You are working on getting your shoulders into extension (arms behind your back range of motion), which counters rounded shoulders due to deskbound lifestyle.

           

  1. Position your arms behind your back with your hand down on the desk. Your hands should be slightly below the shoulder height and your shoulder blades should be pinched together;
  2. Keeping your hands firm on the desk, lower your elevation by slightly bending your knees and taking a step forward. You should feel a good stretch on the chest muscles and front shoulder muscles.

If You Work at a Desk, You'll Want to Try These Neck and Shoulder Exercises

Overhead stretch to fix rounded upper back

The objective of the overhead stretch is to fix rounded upper back, mobilize the muscles and restore their normal function. 

  1. Place your hands forward firmly on your desk with shoulder width apart. The fingers should face forward. Do not to turn your hands outward.
  2. Keeping your belly tight and your arms locked out, walk your feet back while hinging forward from your hips. Your knees should be fully extended and your back flat. You should feel a good stretch in your shoulders and back. 

These exercises can be performed for at least 1-2 minutes whenever it is time for a break from working at your desk.

Use these exercises at work and make shoulder and neck health a priority in your office!

Learn more exercises to stop neck and shoulder pain by meeting with one of our personal trainers!

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