Whether you are at work or at home, it is common to feel stress and tension. Today, people are often called on to do more with fewer resources. They are faced with more responsibility and more deadlines to get their tasks done. The health of your neck may be at risk with these mounting pressures. But scientists have helped us learn that we have a defense against these mounting pressures — the “Three R’s” for easing tension and reducing neck pain at home and work:
Rest — taking frequent breaks during the work hour, and choose alternate activities to get your mind ready for a new job task such as deep breathing, walking, napping, or exercising.
Relaxation — take a load off. Lie back. Turn down the lights, and listen to your favorite tape or CD. Breath slowly and deeply, allowing your abdomen to rise and fall rhythmically. Using visual imagery can also aid in relaxation. Try to visualize each muscle relaxing one after another.
Recovery — repeated and prolonged activities can take their toll if your body does not get a chance to recover. Recovery helps repair sore, aching tissues along the way, keeping them healthy.
Here are some additional tips you can use to avoid tension at work and keep your back and neck healthy:
Be Relaxed — try to keep your muscles relaxed. To stay relaxed, look relaxed.
Pace Yourself — keep an even keel. Avoid sudden changes in your workload. Try to avoid last minute “panics” to meet deadlines.
Take a Break — take a thirty second “microbreak” every twenty to thirty minutes to do some deep breathing and a few exercises. Take a few minutes each hour to do some exercises, get a drink, or go bug a coworker. Use your lunch break to take a nap or a walk.
Change Positions — avoid holding your neck, trunk, or limbs still for a long time. Plan ways to get the job done using different positions. Sit for a bit, then stand for a bit. Or simply readjust your approach to the task.
Rotate Duties — rotating or sharing your tasks can be fun by offering a new work setting while giving your body a chance to recover.
Avoid Caffeine and Tobacco — caffeine (in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate), and tobacco can increase stress, reduce blood flow, and increase your awareness of back and neck pain.