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I get severe pain on my neck and back while studying (or using a laptop) for a while, as fast as 90 minutes and usually 3 hours. I want to spend more time on studying but it is very difficult to keep studying longer due to the pain and fatigue.

The online search results only tell me how to prevent the pain while studying, such as keeping the good posture.

But all of them have no effect on me, so I would rather want to solve it by removing the pain as quickly as possible. How can I cure the pain and study as much as possible?

I usually study at cafes, and thus need a way to cure it even while outside. That means applying ice and heating or exercising is not possible.

  • Be very careful about taking health advice from the internet. When you ask in a pubic forum like this, it seems like a quarter of the answers are useless and a quarter could be dangerous. Though to be fair, most doctors don't give good advice either when it comes to mobility issues. – piojo Sep 13 at 6:26
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    @piojo I know. But it's not limited on forums. Lifehack articles that start with "X great things for Y" are mostly useless, and that's why I came here. – Blaszard Sep 13 at 10:21
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Unless you learn how to exercise your body properly none of the magical solutions offered will help. I used to suffer from neck and back pains many years ago starting at my early 40's. At the age of 45 I took up running marathons, then I became an ultra-marathon runner. My regular training schedule is 100 push-ups, 100 pull-ups, 200 squats with 40 lbs weights and 10 miles running every day. Guess what? No more neck and back pains and no squeaking of the joints when turning my neck. They are gone forever and for good! So, forget the easy and useless solutions, get up from the armchair and be prepared for some serious exercise is the only good advise I can offer you.

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    +1. Overall fitness is the first thing to achieve. I have had similar issues from RSI, etc and increasing my overall strength and fitness has worked wonders. – talonx Sep 18 at 5:09
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As you mentioned, prevention is better than cure.

However, I have some ideas, I use them occasionally.

  1. Be sure that the table and the chair are actually ergonomic. It means, that they are properly adjusted to your body dimensions. If they are uncomfortable in any way, the pain will appear sooner.
  2. Just lay down for a few minutes (a bed is implied), on your back, with the purpose of relaxation. Not only that the muscles will relax and the pain will go away, but your brain will get some extra blood, and consequently, additional nutrients and oxygen - directly improving the studying capacity.
  3. I know some exercise, I do not know if I can describe it properly - it helps with the muscles relaxation part.
    • start from a standing position;
    • legs will remain straight throughout the exercise; arms remain relaxed for the entire exercise;
    • slowly bend your body from the waist, until it "hangs" freely, as relaxed as possible - hands / arms hanging freely also;
    • shake your upper body (including arms) while it hangs down - it helps get rid of the "monkeys" giving you the pain; do not over do it, don't use too strong a force;
    • alternate for a few times - according to what you feel - the relaxed hanging and the shaking;
    • start raising slowly, gradually, from the waist up, to the shoulders - the head being the last one coming to the normal position;
    • wait for a few seconds, for the body to readjust to vertical normal position;
    • slowly start doing whatever you need to do.

I usually study at cafes

Well, I do not know what you study and for what purpose, but cafes are not a recommended place to study in any way. Why?

  • they tend to be noisy;
  • there is a constant flux of people coming and going;
  • depending on the place, the tables and chairs are far from being comfortable, let alone ergonomic.

Overall, cafes do not offer a "study" environment / atmosphere. To understand better why that atmosphere is recommended, read about the mind state called flow.

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The source of your pain is bad posture, which is almost inevitable when you work on a laptop. The laptop is placed too low relative to your head, so you have to tilt your head forward, which places strain on your neck.

At the same time, the table you're sitting at is too high, and the chair too low, so your arms are not supported properly, adding more strain.

This is why people who need to work on their laptop all day long often create an ergonomically correct workplace by connecting the laptop to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. This allows you to maintain correct posture: spine and neck straight and relaxed, looking ahead instead of down.

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If you insist on using the laptop by itself, take frequent breaks. For at least 5 minutes every hour, stand up, stretch, get your blood flowing. Move all those muscles that have been stationary for the past hour.

If you find yourself leaning forward because you can't read the laptop screen, see an optician and have your eyes checked: if your eyesight is not optimal, you start straining your eyes and or leaning forward, which again increases the strain on your body. Also, many laptops today have high-resolution screens which the OS does not compensate for automatically, so all text on the screen is tiny. You may have to adjust settings.

Cafes often have terrible chairs, which make the problem worse: insufficient padding produces pressure points, and you start straining your body to try and compensate.

There's no way to 'remove the pain as quickly as possible'. You're damaging your body, and the pain is the body's method of telling you something's wrong. The body needs time to recover (and to recover from sitting still, you need movement). If you keep using your body in a way that causes pain, that pain may become permanent. This happened to me: wrong posture and not enough exercise led to permanent wrist pain, which took months of physical therapy and changes in lifestyle to recover from.

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This one might sound a little weird, but you can try imagine writing a phrase or some words in the air with your chin, in the mean time keep your back straight and relax your shoulders.

Exaggerate the letters and stretch your muscles as far as your can during this exercise.

You can do it a few times a day, whenever is convenient. It only takes a minute.

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Try practicing yoga exercises daily, especially Bhujangasana(or Cobra Pose) and Matsyasana(or fish pose). This will surely help

If it is really severe pain, you may apply a pain releaving cream/gel, but it is not a long term solution.

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I would take a few deep breath and use your right arm to grab the table and your left to grab the back of the chair and vise versa then twist your back around.....the relief is awesome and it cracks your back from down to up. Then stand up and bend over completely limp then staying as limp as possible turn your neck left and upward then right and upward. Slowly stand. That should be a quick refresh. Then make a chiropractor appointment!

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