Is work a pain in the neck?


Martina, owner and chartered Physiotherapist at Southside Physiotherapy Clinic shares some practical tips on how to reduce your pain at work and stop technology wreaking havoc on your neck, shoulders and spine. With so many of us spending our time glued to phones and laptops, it is little surprise to Martina that she has seen an increase in the number of people presenting in Southside Physiotherapy Clinic with work and technology related neck or shoulder blade pain.

Check that you are sitting comfortably.

It’s easy to forget about your posture when you are working to a deadline or just plain busy. Whilst sitting too low at a desk causes overloading of the shoulder muscles as the arms are lifted up to reach the keyboard, sitting too high means the shoulders will be hunched forward causing pain.

Tip: Ensure that the top of your screen is at eye level. Sit with your ears directly above your shoulders and your shoulders straight over your hips. Keep your elbows close to your body,

rather than with arms outstretched, or lifted up to reach the keyboard. Thighs, forearms and hands should be parallel with the floor. Your chair must always be pulled in under the desk, so that your

forearms can rest on the desk and your tummy touches the edge of your desk.

Is the phone putting your posture under pressure?

We are probably all guilty of speaking on the phone with the receiver cradled awkwardly between our neck and shoulder, whilst typing or writing. This puts an extremely high load on our neck and upper back and should be avoided at all costs.

Tip: If you use a telephone regularly at work, ask your employer to provide a headset for your phone, keeping your hands free.

Laptop vs. workstation

Tip: If you are working on a laptop for long periods, we advise you use a detachable keyboard and stable work surface, so that your forearms are rested on the edge of your desk. Avoid bad habits such as working with your laptop on your knee or on the arm of the sofa whilst watching TV.

‘Text neck’: a major cause of neck injury

‘Text neck’ is a type of neck pain caused by our addiction to mobile phones, tablets and other mobile devices. Many of us hold our phones around waist-level, causing us to have to peer down to text or email. The head forward, with ears in front of our shoulders, is an unnatural position and is very bad for our necks, causing pinched nerves, compressed and herniated discs.

Tip: To avoid ‘text neck’ and encourage good posture, we recommend that you rest your elbows on your lower ribs and hold your mobile device just below eye level. Now you can keep your ears straight above your shoulders which reduces pressure in your neck.


Take a break

Although sometimes easier said than done, we recommend you get up and move around more during the day and don’t forget to take regular breaks from your desk and your devices. A break where you stand up and move every hour for just 30 seconds could make a huge difference in reducing your pain.

Get rid of neck and shoulder pain

It’s wrong to think that this pain is due to the normal ageing process. If you have tried improving your workstation posture to no avail, then it’s time to seek professional help from one of our experienced physiotherapists. You do not need a referral from your doctor to see us, you can come directly.

Take action now. Call Southside Physiotherapy Clinic 01 2897171 or book online at We will help you treat and beat work and technology related pain.