2020 has brought many changes and the way we work will never be the same again. Many people have been required to and still are working from home. Business lunches, travel and the daily commute are far away from getting back to normal.
With changes to our everyday environment and routine it is common to start experiencing new and unfamiliar aches and pains. Something I have noticed throughout the past few months is the amount of people who have experienced a new onset of pain in their necks and backs, or even flare ups in old conditions.
Recently there has been some investigation into the best way to prevent aches and pains in the workplace and this is becoming more important with our new flexible working arrangements. A study published by the BMC Sports science medicine and rehabilitation journal earlier this year sought to identify a series of exercises which could be completed in the work place to ease neck pain. This study measured the effectiveness of a 10 minute resistance based exercise program consisting of four exercises which could be completed easily in the work place. These exercises were performed daily with a resistance band for 12-15 repetitions.
The exercises examined in the study were:
One arm row
- Standing with your right foot forward, left foot back, stand on your resistance band with your band in your right hand.
- Lean your trunk forward so that 75% of your weight is over your front foot.
- Keep your elbow in a 90 degree position and draw your elbow backwards towards your body.
- Ensure your shoulders and neck remain relaxed.
- Repeat 12-15 reps, then repeat on the left.
- Standing with you feet hip distance apart, standing on the middle part of your resistance band, holding onto the two ends.
- Cross the straps over to increase the tension on the band.
- Draw your hands up to your chest height with your elbows pointing out, keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed as you do. Hold for 1-2 seconds.
- Bring you hands back down to your hips, taking the tension off the band.
- Repeat 12-15 times.
One arm lateral raises
- Standing on one end of the band with your right foot, place the other end of the band in your right hand.
- Stand tall, keep your shoulders and neck relaxed.
- Raise your right arm out to the side, away from your body until your arm reaches shoulder height, keeping your arm straight.
- Control the movement, lowering your arm back down to you side, taking the tension off the band.
- Repeat 12- 15 reps, then repeat on the left side.
One arm reverse flies
- Standing with your feet hip distance apart, stand on the band with your left foot and the band in your right hand.
- Lean your trunk forward and keep your shoulders and neck relaxed.
- With your elbow straight draw your arm away from the body laterally to shoulder height.
- Control the arm back down to the side of the body, taking the resistance off the band.
These exercises are simple and easy to do with minimal set up and time. The results of this study were very encouraging and demonstrated a simple way to help reduce neck pain in the work place. The average participant had a reduction in neck pain by 25% and those who had pain which was more moderate in nature had a reduction of 43% when compared to their pain scores pre resistance training. People who participated in this research also reported an improvement on average, in their health related quality of life by 10%.
If you have ongoing neck pain get in touch with our fantastic Physio’s here in the Sydney CBD to see whether these exercises would be right for you.
Saeterbakken, A. H., Makrygiannis, P., Stien, N., Solstad, T., Shaw, M., Andersen, V., & Pedersen, H. (2020). Dose-response of resistance training for neck-and shoulder pain relief: a workplace intervention study. BMC sports science, medicine & rehabilitation, 12, 8.