| 11.2°C Dublin

Don't let the day job be a pain in your neck

THIS week alone, four clients have been complaining of shoulder and neck pain, shooting from the shoulder area and moving down to the fingers and hands. It can get worse by pulling or pushing any object, even turning your head can cause pain.

You may also get a feeling of numbness or a tingling sensation down the arm. This problem can affect even top athletes and is more common in contact sports like rugby, etc.

Over the last year, I've worked with about 30 clients who have this problem. And, yes, it can be very worrying and uncomfortable. With constant nerve pain causing tension from your head downwards. With nearly all our clients it was not exercise induced. Having dealt with the problem myself, by simply sleeping on it, it was enough to cause terrible nerve pain down my arm, which lasted three weeks, even with visits to the physio.


Such a simple thing, yet so much discomfort. And for those who are constantly working at desks, leaning your neck forwards for long periods of time working at computers, unfortunately you are very prone to neck and shoulder strain.

To avoid tightness around the shoulders, try as often as you can to get a good Kai massage, to loosen the back and neck muscles and avoid nerve pain.

When walking past a shop window, observe your posture and see if your neck is leaning forward. You will notice your head is completely out of line with the body, and it's only a matter of time before neck strain will occur. It may be time to see a good osteopath or Alexander Technique expert to realign the body.

Referred pain means you may feel it in your arm or hand, but it will probably originate from your neck. The neck vertebrae may be out of alignment or you may have a degenerative condition like arthritis or bone spurs. Or even that the nerve is being trapped or pinched.

All our clients' symptoms cleared up following treatment, with medical intervention or physio. If worried, address your concern with your therapist. When your condition improves, start a good upper body workout to strengthen the neck and shoulders. If you get tense at the desk, lean back and move your head left, back and forward for one minute every hour.

> Pat Henry