So why is the Trainer talking about a headset? Because, the headset is a piece of office equipment that is as critical to your neck and shoulder health, as a dumbbell is to your resistance workout. Wedging the receiver between your ear and shoulder as you write down information that is being given to you over the phone is not conducive to the health of your shoulders or neck. Using a headset facilitates multi tasking while you are on the phone, without putting further strain on your already tense shoulders and neck.
So what type of physical problems can be avoided by using a headset? Well, a headset helps to prevent tingling and numbness in your fingers (symptoms of nerve impingement), which may occur over time when you consistently tilt your head and hike up your shoulder to support a phone receiver. Furthermore, when you make a habit of holding your phone receiver up with your shoulder, you can slowly develop imbalances in your shoulder girdle. Also when you regularly tilt your neck to one side, eventually the muscles on one side of your neck will be stretched, and the muscles on the opposing side will be shortened. Those of you who currently use the phone without a headset are probably more than familiar with the pain caused by this bad habit.
Here are 2 quick stretches you can do to decrease the tension in your neck and shoulders.
1. Shoulder Shrug: Take a deep breath in and squeeze your shoulders up to your ears. Hold this position until you have taken in all the air you possible can. Drop your shoulders with intention and quickly exhale. Repeat 4 times.
2. Chin tuck: The muscles that hold up your head are known as suboccipitals, and tightness in these muscles often leads to tension headaches. By simply drawing your chin back towards your neck (be sure to keep your eyes looking straight ahead, not up or down) you will improve your overall neck health. Repeat 4-5 times a day and hold the position for a count of 10.
Most of us spend a great deal of time in positions where our shoulders are protracted (rounded forward) and our necks are flexed (head forward and chin sloping towards the chest), as we look down at our computers. In addition, to doing the exercises suggested above and getting a headset for your phone, try the following steps to protect your shoulders and neck at work. Sit up straight in your chair, set up your desk so you are able to look straight ahead at your computer monitor, and keep your feet flat on the ground while you work. Taking these simple steps will help to prevent shoulder and neck pain from decreasing your productivity at the office, and keep you smiling while you work.
Until next time, head up and shoulders down.
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