Neck pain

In the past few weeks, my neck pain has been more of a mental burden than a physical one. I’m writing this as an exercise in therapy for myself and hopefully to remind myself (and anyone reading this) to sit upright, take breaks, and don’t take your body for granted.

I’ve been thinking about what has caused my neck pain. I sit at my computer for many hours a day, some days even after work, I’m sitting here gaming.

The main cause has been the passiveness about the position that I sit in. Whenever I am on the computer, it has been due to extending my arms too far out and leaning my neck over the keyboard to get closer to the monitor. So, moving the monitor and keyboard+mouse closer to me has helped a lot.

Next, my chair, Kristen helped me find an aeron chair from craigslist about 3 years ago. I’ve had it throughout the pandemic and as my neck pain was becoming more annoying, I never gave it a thought that maybe my chair was incorrectly adjusted. Turns out, it was a combination of my desk being too tall which caused me to lift up my chair even more and eventually not touch the floor with my feet. Dangling feet meant I had to rest them somewhere, what better place than on top of each other on top of the chair’s legs? Well, that meant my whole lower body was stiff and tense the whole time I sat on the computer. This led to fatigue in a short amount of time. So, lowering the chair and desk helped.

Taking account of how long have I been sitting in this position helps, I have gone a couple of hours in a row of just sitting here. Which just sounds bad writing it out. And it’s clearly true, I was fatiguing my whole body.

So, a few things to check:

  • Adjust height of chair, desk, and monitor.
  • Monitor should be eye level, a bit higher so you’re not looking down.
  • Mouse and keyboard should be within arm’s reach comfortable, elbows bent about 90º while resting on the arm rest of the chair.
  • Neck and back are straight, resting against the back of the chair.
  • No headrest needed, this will signal if I’m getting tired looking to rest my head should instead mean I should take a break away from the computer.
  • Feet should touch the ground comfortably.