Neck pain is the most common condition in office-based workers and it’s hard to imagine any office worker saying that they’ve never had neck pain at some point. There are many variables that contribute to neck pain – screen position, screen height, screen size, chair design and spinal posture to name just a few.
One very simple thing that any office worker can do to reduce the load on their neck is to ensure they have support under their forearms when at their desk.
The easiest way to achieve this is to sit close to your desk edge, push your keyboard slightly further away from the desk edge, and use the space in front of your keyboard to rest your arms. This will need to be adjusted to suit your body dimensions but for most people it means the keyboard sits 15-20cm away from you.
Does it work?
Absolutely! Many studies have shown that forearm support is significant in reducing the load on some of the muscles around your neck and shoulders, with this article being a simple example. Without support, these muscles need to work harder and tend to fatigue more by the end of the workday.
What about armrests on my chair?
For some people, armrests are helpful but for most people forearm support is better achieved by using the desk rather than armrests on the chair. The main reason for this is because when armrests are high enough to give good support, they can get in the way of sitting close to the desk edge. This can create a new problem of a ‘forward leaning’ posture, which can increase load on the neck.
If you’re finding that your neck & shoulders are feeling a little tight, consider adjusting your workstation to make sure you have the right forearm support. And if you need a little extra assistance with your set up, feel free to contact the friendly team of health professionals at Ergoworks.