Neck Pain

Neck Pain

May 22, 2024

Increase in Work From Home

Neck pain has become much more prevalent since the start of COVID a few years ago. Many believe this can be attributed to the increase in work from home, poor workplace setups, and increased time spent on computers now that people are not commuting and working longer hours at home. By no means is this an ad for a new ergonomic chair or standing desk, but it is undeniable that the instances of neck pain have increased in recent years. Targeting the specifics of your neck pain requires a physical therapy evaluation to determine your specific symptoms and their cause-effect nature. However, most people can benefit from a few specific exercises to improve posture and overall reduce neck pain, especially that which may be related to workplace setup.

Workplace Setup

Specifically regarding workplace setup, if you have neck pain when typing at the computer, make sure you are sitting up tall. This can be achieved through ergonomic chairs or standing desks, but also simply rolling up a towel to a 6-inch diameter cylinder and placing it around belt-level in the low back may improve posture. It may also be beneficial to get up frequently throughout the day, every thirty minutes or so, and walk around away from the computer and desk set up.


Regarding exercise, it is important to reiterate how effective a physical therapy evaluation can be to specifically recognize your needs and strengths/weaknesses. Many exercises would be beneficial for almost anyone in a computer or desk based job. These exercises include: chin tucks, scapular retractions, thread the needle, banded rows. Each can be performed for 2 sets of 10 repetitions, progressing with resistance or increasing sets and reps.

Chin Tucks

Seated with good posture, pull your head straight back without looking up or down. Hold for 3 seconds.

Scapular Retractions

Seated or standing with good posture, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold this position for 3 seconds.

Thread the Needle

On hands and knees, bring your right arm underneath you on the other side between your left arm and left knee. Hold that stretch for 30 seconds. Perform with the left arm as well.

Banded Rows

Standing with good posture and the bands anchored at chest level. Pull the bands to either side of your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades. Release.

Written by: Dr. Katie Kelly, PT, DPT

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