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Office Work - A Pain in the Neck?

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

About two thirds of the population have neck pain at some time in their lives. Many people who have office-based work complains about neck pain and prevalence is highest in middle age.

Why poor posture can cause neck pain?

Body posture is a state of alignment of the body for a specific amount of time. We define an ideal posture as a state of maintaining alignment in the body using minimal musculoskeletal activity without causing pain or discomfort.

Sitting for prolong periods of time causes changes in the alignment of the spine, leading to improper posture, such as a rounded shoulder or forward head posture (FHP). FHP can lead to a spatial change between the spine and the line of gravity, causing an overload on muscles and connective tissues (i.e. our spine is losing the fight against gravity with prolong periods of computer work at one time). As a result, our heads and upper section of necks drift into extension while the lower section of the neck flex downwards creating a hump at the base of the neck. The exposure to this constant load on the craniovertebral extension muscles and the noncontractile structures causes a change in the biomechanical movement and cause musculoskeletal imbalance or pain.

The craniovertebral angle (CVA) has shown to be an accurate measure of the amount of FHP an office worker has. It is the angle intersected by the line from the middle of the front section of the ear and the horizontal line at the level of the seventh cervical vertebra. It has been shown that for every inch that the head moves forwards (i.e. a decrease in the CVA angle with a FHP), the compressive forces exerted by the head onto the lower cervical spine are increased by 100%.

Which exercise is most effective for reducing neck pain?

The answer is the "Tuck you chin in / make a double chin" exercise - basically all you have to do is to sit up nice and tall, open your chest and draw your chin in (as depicted by the picture on the far right)

Hold for 10 secs, do 3 times, and repeat every half an hour to an hour.

This exercise is very beneficial in reducing neck pain and improving postural strength.

To find out more about your neck pain and get effective treatment, please contact us.


1. Binder A. I. (2007). Cervical spondylosis and neck pain. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 334(7592), 527–531.

2. Kim, D. H., Kim, C. J., & Son, S. M. (2018). Neck Pain in Adults with Forward Head Posture: Effects of Craniovertebral Angle and Cervical Range of Motion. Osong public health and research perspectives, 9(6), 309–313.

3. Kim, Bobin & Lee, Jihyun & Jeong, Hyo-Jung & Cynn, Heon-Seock. (2016). Effects of Suboccipital Release with Craniocervical Flexion Exercise on Craniocervical Alignment and Extrinsic Cervical Muscle Activity in Subjects with Forward Head Posture. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 30. 10.1016/j.jelekin.2016.05.007

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