Why Do I Have Neck Pain If I Just Sit All Day?

By Savanna Stone
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Sitting all day might be an exaggeration of what you really do each day, but if you spend a lot of time sitting every day (whether at home or at work), there are still a lot of things that can cause you neck pain. You might be surprised at this because you would think pain comes from crazy sports, crazy weight lifting, or just craziness. And if you stay far away from all of that or you just don’t have time for it, it’s surprising to learn that being stationary can cause just as much pain as crazy activities. But pain doesn’t care what your hobbies are; it’s out to get you no matter what you do. So what exactly are you doing, or not doing, that is causing you pain? Here are some things that might be causing your neck pain:1

Working without breaks.

Pain doesn’t just come from movement. Pain also comes if you don’t move enough. Your muscles stiffen because you haven’t provided them with enough blood flow to loosen up. So if you just sit at your desk all day, your neck or other muscles might get sore because you haven’t used them for a while. Make sure to get up from your desk once every hour to prevent neck stiffness and other muscle stiffness. Also make sure you have good posture at your desk by moving your desk and computer into an ergonomic position. 

Staring down at a phone or book

Looking down for long periods of time can cause muscles to overstretch and become tired. Once this happens, the muscles can put pressure on nerves, causing you pain that radiates down to your shoulder blades, arms, hands, or up to your head causing you a headache. Instead of holding your book or phone down in your lap, lift the object up to eye level, or rest it on a stand that is eye level. 

Watching TV or playing video games 

Just like sitting at your desk all day will cause muscle stiffness, so will sitting to watch TV or play video games. You don’t have to stop doing the things you love. Just make sure to get up and move your muscles around every once in a while to help improve circulation to your muscles and decrease muscle stiffness.

Bad posture 

Slouching or hanging your head down can also cause neck pain. Good posture means having your chest out, your head straight over your shoulders, and your stomach tight. Try doing exercises to strengthen your good posture muscles so that you can maintain good posture throughout the day and be pain free. 

Driving

Driving with the seat low and too far back can cause you to have neck pain. Having your seat in that position will cause you to move your head forward and your chin up, which makes your neck bend in an unnatural way. Move your seat up and forward, and place your head comfortably against the headrest. Adjust the steering wheel so that you can keep your shoulders back comfortably. Adjust your rearview mirror accordingly so you’re not tempted to go back to your previous, pain-causing position.

Sleeping

Sleeping on your stomach can cause you neck pain because your neck is turned to one side for a long period of time. Instead, try sleeping on your back or your side. Another thing that causes pain during sleep is the wrong number of pillows. Make sure you have pillows that allow your spine all the way to your neck to stay straight. If your head tilts up or down, you don’t have the right number of pillows. Even if you do all these things, sometimes you can still have neck pain. That might simply be because you stayed in one position the whole night. Just do a few stretches to get blood back into your muscles and you’ll feel as good as new.


Sources:

  1. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/easy-ways-to-prevent-a-stiff-neck/