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I've been working in our home office today, rearranging and such. It occurred to me that many people don't realize how important it is to keep your neck in a straight and natural position. I have my task chair at my computer desk in the highest position. That way I am looking straight at the monitor without bending my neck back.
It came to my attention, after I left my regular clerical job with a school district and started to sub for clericals, that many people just walk into a job situation and sit on the chair in whatever position they find it, whether it is comfortable or not. I am just brazen enough to make that chair fit me if I'm going to work and sit there for most of the day.
When task chairs are delivered to an office, most of the time they are in the lowest position which is not correct for anyone that I know. Next time you go to work, feel underneath the seat. Most task chairs have a lever which will allow you to adjust the height. If you stand and depress the lever, the chair will raise. Put it on the highest position, then sit down and gently use the lever to lower it a little at a time until it feels right.
This should be done while looking at the monitor so that you can set it so you don't have to bend your neck but look directly at the monitor. If you have bifocals, as I do, then you need to be looking down slightly. If need be, petition your boss for a lower computer table so that you can be in a comfy position while doing his/her work.
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When doing sit ups, how to keep from straining one's neck?
Holly from Richardson, TX
Your back, head, and neck should always be in a straight line. Look up at the ceiling as you do sit ups, not toward your knees and concentrate on using your stomach muscles rather than getting your chin close to your legs.
Do your sit ups on an exercise Ball.
Whatever you do , DO NOT put your arms behind your head to support your neck. They pull on the back of your head can pull your neck muscles. When you lie on your back you should have your hands on your thighs, and slide them to your knees as the top of your body rises, then slide them back down again. You should aim to do as many as you can in 30 seconds each day, and build it up slowly until your neck muscles are strong enough to go for longer periods of time. If you want to strengthen your stomach muscles the other good thing to do is pushups - but only on your knees. That will also help balance the body.
I do a core workout 3 times a week (about 350 crunches in 15 minutes) and was always getting a sore neck
I do support my head with my hands and brace my thumbs on the tendons that run under my ears. ALso, keep your back flat on the ground. I have a tendency to arch mine
Hope this helps
Concerning pain, our musculoskeletal system is best understood (psychosomatic interpretation aside) as a tensegrity model. Pain is often the symptomatic expression of a lack of, or dis-ease of tensional integrity within the musculoskeletal system. To prevent pain, focus on biomechanically defined functional movement patterns, rather than muscle-specific exercises.
I disagree with looking up at the ceiling the whole time. I believe that one of the reasons your neck hurts is because the extensors are activating to "help" you complete the exercise. You actually want to the neck flexors (the front of the neck) to activate to help you with the exercise. This can be done by putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth (where you would put it to swallow) while doing crunches. Your eyes should be on your thighs. Most of us tend to have weak neck flexors and strong neck extensors typically on the upper spine and shoulders due to poor posture. Stretch your chest and it will help!!
PS I agree that you should keep a flat back during the whole exercise. Also, try some lower abdominal exercises where the head is on the ground. IE Pelvic tilts, Sahrmann exercises are good too.