Shoulder and Neck

In 2003, it was found 6 in 10 working adults used a computer on their job.1 At Nevada Physical Therapy we commonly treat individuals who hold a desk job and have developed neck and shoulder pain over time. We hear complaints of tightness, weakness, and the most common being pain. Usually, these pains have evolved into what we consider chronic pain, meaning pain lasting >12 weeks. These pains can be constant or intermittent, but ultimately make it difficult to concentrate throughout the day. These symptoms often have developed as a result of a sustained posture/position our bodies no longer tolerate. Unfortunately, during these sedentary jobs, we forget to stand and move throughout the day, often stuck in nonoptimal positions.

Patients who work at a desk for long periods of time can benefit from both mobility and strengthening program, not only to improve your activity level but also to help reduce pain. We usually recommend patients set a timer/reminder every hour or every other hour to stand and complete a few minutes of exercise. Setting a reminder will help keep you accountable and get you moving throughout your day. To provide you with a general program, some common exercises we prescribe include stretching for the front/anterior side of your shoulder targeting the pectoralis muscle complex, stretching a few neck muscles, and strengthening for the back/posterior side of your shoulder targeting the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers/retractors.

The goal of these exercises and movement patterns is to facilitate you out of positions your body is not tolerating, and position you in a more optimal position. In a postural study completed a couple years ago, the authors found those who exercised had a better posture and less depression than those who didn’t complete exercise.2Interestingly, those who sat with poor posture didn’t necessarily experience more pain than those who sat in a good posture.2 Our bodies respond well to exercise, and for those who sit, we want to get you out of sustained postures that your body is not currently tolerating.

So what would your first visit look like at Nevada Physical Therapy? We will discuss the history of your symptoms, your personalized goals, and the plan to meet those goals. With a Nevada Physical Therapy assessment, we will pinpoint nonoptimal movement patterns related to stability, mobility, or a combination of the two. We can then provide you with an individualized program and an estimated timeline to help improve your pain and movement patterns. Our ultimate goal is to decrease dependency on the provider and give you the tools for self-management and injury prevention.

Try these exercises out to help with that nagging neck and shoulder pain, and don’t forget to set the reminder! If you find yourself benefiting from these exercises minimally, they are causing more pain than good, and you are still experiencing pain, check out the services we provide as well as our treatment philosophy. Nevada Physical Therapy is conveniently located on campus in the sports medicine complex. We look forward to being a part of your rehabilitation process, and we encourage you to email us or call us to set up a consultation today.

1. Owen, N., Sparling, P., Healy, G., Dunstan, D. and Matthews, C. (2010). Sedentary Behavior: Emerging Evidence for a New Health Risk. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 85(12), pp.1138-1141.
2. Richards, K., Beales, D., Smith, A., O'Sullivan, P. and Straker, L. (2016). Neck Posture Clusters and Their Association With Biopsychosocial Factors and Neck Pain in Australian Adolescents. Physical Therapy, 96(10), pp.1576-1587.

Questions? Contact us!