If you suffer with neck & shoulder pain, you know that winter is the perfect storm for making it worse.
Between the cold hunching up your shoulders, the wind whipping around your ears, and the general stressy time leading up to the holidays, is it a wonder that desk workers experience more pain when the weather gets colder?
We have some super easy, quick, and effective tips for you this winter to mitigate the effects of the cold weather.
If you’d like to watch 4 easy tips for Desk Workers, vs read the next section, here’s a slightly different version from our YouTube channel:
Tip 1: Wear a Scarf!
This is an oldie but goodie.
When the weather’s cold, you can’t help pulling your shoulders up round your ears to try and protect your neck from the icy air.
You guessed it – hunching your shoulders is an easy way to aggravate neck and shoulder pain.
Wearing a scarf around your neck makes it a lot easier to keep your shoulders down, to minimise the effects of ‘cold weather shoulder’.
Just make sure it covers your neck! It’s no good if you can still feel the cold sneaking in over the top or under the scarf you’re wearing.
Tip #2: Warm up Your Shoulders
Stiffness is the enemy of muscles (and muscle tension’s best friend).
When you have a spare 2-3 minutes in your day, sneak off to the toilet or the stairwell and do a few arm circles both directions.
Arm circles will warm up both your shoulder muscles AND your shoulder joints, decreasing muscle tension and improving your muscle pliability.
Try it for a week, and see how much easier it to have better posture (and how much less crunching you get in your joints).
Tip #3: Head Over Shoulders
Speaking of better posture, knowing exactly how to sit can feel like an exercise in contortion (especially if good posture is not your normal habit).
To get a good start on your posture, try this one tip:
Tuck your chin in (lengthening the back of your neck), so your head sits over the top of your shoulders vs forward of them.
A good way to think of it is if you dropped a coin off your chin (why anyone would do that, I have no idea, but go with me here), it should land on the top of your breastbone, vs your lap (or your slightly-larger-due-to-the-holiday-festivities tummy).
Keeping your head over your shoulders decreases the strain on your shoulder and neck muscles during the long, dark hours at your desk.
Tip #4: Deep Breaths
Did you know, when you’re stressed your muscles contract reflexively (that is, automatically without you even thinking about it)?
Deep breathing not only gets more oxygen to muscles (good for muscles) it also helps you release any tension you may not have realised you were holding.
Take 3 deep breaths, and on each out breath focus on letting go of the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Try to notice where you were holding tension that you could release.
Tip #5: Have a Desk Worker’s MOT
When it’s cold (and snowing!), and everyone’s busy with parties and deadlines, there is only so much you can do on your own.
A 60 or 90-min desk worker’s MOT will target any areas that you’re holding built up stress and release the muscle a lot more quickly than stretching alone.
We’ll also give you an idea of where you’re tight, and you’ll leave with an easy-to-fit in stretch, exercise, or posture adjustment to continue making headway on your own.
Want a desk worker’s MOT for Christmas? Put our desk worker MOT on your gift list and link to our shop page (and whoever buys it for you will get 20% off a session for themselves, plus a portion of proceeds will go to help the homeless this winter). Click here to check out our holiday shop.
Know someone who’s suffering with neck & shoulder pain/working at a desk this winter? Please share this post with them so they can try our tips
If you try one of our tips, please leave a comment below to let us know how you get on.