I run a small chain of local hotels in the west. On any given day, there are always two or three desk clerks complaining of neck pain. Is there something about the job that's causing this? Or is it just that young people don't want to work so they call in sick with various aches and pains? I'm losing money over this issue.
Without a closer look at your front desk and staff, we can only offer some general suggestions. First, be aware that neck pain is a very common problem in the adult population. In fact, studies show that on any given day, 20 per cent of adults in the United States report similar symptoms. And two-thirds of all adults will experience neck pain at some point their lives.
Age may be a factor, but usually it's older adults with arthritis who make up the larger group of affected individuals. In younger adults, it may be necessary to take a look at the way they hold the phone.
For example, are they wearing hands-free headsets? Or are they cradling the phone between the shoulder and ear while using their hands to access the computer or write information down? If that's the case, then the amount of time spent on the phone may be a problem.
Changing the work space, providing hands-free head sets, and chairs that adjust up and down may be very helpful in reducing and even eliminating neck and/or low back pain. Take some time to just observe employees work habits, posture, and fit between various body types and the front desk counter, chairs, or other workspace.
It may be helpful to have a physical therapist or other ergonomics expert assess your workplace and employees for ways to reduce neck, shoulder, back or other musculoskeletal pain. Ergonomics is the study of designing work place settings and job to match the people. The goal of a good fit between people and their work is to reduce, minimize, or eliminate physical stress and prevent injury. A little attention to the ergonomics of your work place may be all that's needed.
Michael J. Walker, PT, DSc, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT, et al. The Effectiveness of Manual Physical Therapy and Exercise for Mechanical Neck Pain. In Spine. October 15, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 22. Pp. 2371-2378.
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