I recently started a job in assisting my company with operations. This essentially is a software job, so I spend my 8 hours at a desk. I sustained an upper back strain before starting this position that did not fully heal before starting. I now find that sitting at my desk for 8 hours a day is really bothering my neck and shoulders. I get up every hour and try my best not to slouch. Stretching too frequently aggravates my injury, so I am in a tough spot right now. Does anyone have any other tips to alleviate the tension in my upper spine and neck?

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    There is all sorts of advice on the intertoobz about setting up your desk / chair / keyboard / screen to help with pain. Here's some advice that's served me well. mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/…
    – O. Jones
    Oct 17, 2019 at 12:33
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    I am not sure this is apropiate for this site. Medical advice should be given by profesionals
    – user180146
    Oct 17, 2019 at 12:34
  • @user180146 got it, thanks for being honest. Oct 17, 2019 at 12:35
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    You should talk to your Health & Safety department, if you have it, or your HR department, if you have it. On the side, please seek medical advice for your pre-existant injury. Oct 17, 2019 at 13:11

3 Answers 3


Get a Standing Desk and an Ergonomic Chair

In several countries in Europe, you even can get it paid by the medical insurance if a doctor can prove that you have a pain problem. Do take this problem seriously and see a doctor. Some light gymming after work also helps.

Standing Desk

Ergonomic Chair

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    Thanks for the advice. I am currently in PT and have stopped my regular exercise to heal. I will look into the desk and chair options. Oct 17, 2019 at 12:37
  • +1 This is a great answer. To add to it, the best standing desks are convertible and can offer the option to sit OR stand in the same day, with minimal adjustments.
    – Lumberjack
    Oct 17, 2019 at 13:43
  • also an adjustable height back rest, i often find the lumbar support is too low making no space for my bottom.
    – WendyG
    Oct 17, 2019 at 15:45

In addition to @Jishan's answer , you can also:

  • use a heating pad (bought from a store or a reusable rice one on your neck and/or shoulders.

  • take regular breaks using the pomodoro technique or a program like Workrave

  • +1 for the rice bag. To add on to this, "medical massage" has helped me a lot. I wish it weren't so expensive, because it helps immensely with my neck and shoulder problems.
    – Lumberjack
    Oct 17, 2019 at 13:44

In addition to the other excellent answers, and to obtaining and following medical advice, check the relative heights of floor or footrest, seat, arms, keyboard, head, and screen. In particular, having the top of the screen too low can cause neck strain - at least, that was what an ergonomics person told me when advising ordering a monitor riser to lift a monitor up an inch.

See Office ergonomics, Your how-to guide.

If your work involves thinking time as well as typing, close your eyes or otherwise disconnect from the computer while you are thinking. A lot of us get into the habit of staying in typing position while thinking because that makes it clearer we are working.

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    Your monitor height is what primarily contributes to neck and shoulder pain. The pain will not be immediate but if the position is incorrect, it is like doing a shadow chair type muscle use for your neck for 8 hours. It's actually quite bad and that's why it hurts. You need to figure out how your head balances on your neck and adjust the monitor to that height.
    – Nelson
    Oct 18, 2019 at 3:18
  • The ideal is what I got because my former employer took ergonomics seriously - an ergonomics expert looking at me sitting in my office, in typing position, and saying "That monitor is an inch too low for you. You should order a riser.". Oct 18, 2019 at 20:57

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