Office turtle neck syndrome

Is changing the working environment helpful?

Changing working environment may be the first to come up your mind if you are suffering from “turtle neck syndrome” or “upper cross syndrome”.
Here are some common ideas:

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

These changes may be useful in the beginning, due to the changes of head and neck alignment. However, you may find other problems in the long run.
There are examples such as:

The answer to “Is changing the office environment helpful?” is NO, you should consider changing “yourself” first.

How does “turtle neck syndrome” happen?

The first thing is to know how it is formed.

The left shows the normal alignment of the cervical; the right shows “turtle neck syndrome”. The yellow area is the upper cervical; the blue area shows the lower cervical. Figure from: Orthopedic Physical Therapy 3rd edition.

There are two factors:

It is important that the upper and lower cervical remain proper range of motion.

The first step of correction — range of motion exercise

Range of motion exercise is beneficial in regaining proper cervical alignment and enhancing self-correction mechanism.

Upper cervical range of motion exercise

Lower cervical range of motion exercise

The two exercises can be done at the same time.
By using equipment such as theraband can increase exercise level.

The second step of correction — rest between working hours

Frequent rests or stretches during work have been proven efficient to decrease muscle pain.

Studies show that the neck muscles start to fatigue after 40 minutes of typing. Five minutes of rest after 40 minutes of work can efficiently decrease fatigue level. Thus, if you do not have time to do neck correction exercise, at least take some rest from time to time.

Take home messages for today:

**Maintain cervical in a normal range of motion is more important than keeping the head and neck in a perfect posture.

**Let your muscles rest for a while during work is the best medicine to turtle neck syndrome.

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物理治療師 女性運動與姿勢矯正 physiotherapist, MS, CES