by Zeke Okely – Physiotherapist

As a busy student, have you ever felt neck pain as a result of having your head down buried in assignments and exam preparation? Study-related neck pain is one of the most common complaints we treat at Wisdom Physiotherapy.

How to avoid neck pain when studying:

Study-related neck pain often presents as pain or tightness around your neck and across your shoulders as you turn your head or look up and down. It’s often also accompanied by a headache that can be felt either at the base of your skull or it may feel like it wraps around your head and behind your eyes. When the headache comes from your neck, it is classified as a Cervicogenic headache. These Cervicogenic headaches can come and go or increase to the point where it interferes with your concentration and sleep.

Here are a few handy tips to reduce or avoid neck pain and prevent subsequent headaches:

1. Ergonomic set-up
Make sure your computer is at eye level to avoid squinting or hunching your shoulders. Your chair and desk should allow you to rest your arms at about elbow height. If you’re working on a laptop, prop it up on some books and get a wireless keyboard so that your elbows stay by your side.
2. Muscle relaxation
Your physiotherapist may use targeted massage or dry needling to relieve muscle tension and improve the range of motion in your neck. You can also help yourself at home by carefully stretching your neck and using a massage ball to aid muscle release.
3. Joint targeting strategies
Your physiotherapist can perform specific manual therapies on affected joints and teach you at-home methods to help you self-manage and take an active role in your own treatment.

4. Activity maintenance
Ensure that you change positions frequently throughout the day. It is critical that you take regular breaks, even if they are only a minute or two! To get into the habit – set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move at least every hour.
5. Sleep
One of the most crucial things for your body to heal is sleep. It is essential to get at least 7 hours of deep sleep. Implement healthy sleep practices such as establishing a bedtime routine and shutting off screens at least an hour before sleeping.
6. Exercises for motor control
You can learn tailored, specialised exercises from your physiotherapist to enhance your neck and upper back function and motor control. Improving neck strength and control is key to preventing recurrence.

If you are experiencing neck pain or headaches, don’t put up with it, call us to make an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists and start your recovery today. Call (08) 6389 2947 or click here to book online.

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