If you are a frequent computer user, you could develop neck pain caused not only by the keying and mouse use day in and day out, but also because of the way your work area is set up. In fact, studies reveal that approximately 35 percent of office workers have at least one episode of neck pain that is caused by their computer use. Females, in particular, are more susceptible to this problem and many neck pain sufferers also have lifestyles which do not include much – if any – exercise.
Some of the most common causes of workstation issues that can cause poor posture leading to computer-connected neck pain include:
- Fatigue: Not taking enough breaks throughout the day can lead to fatigue and, eventually, neck pain.
- Height of the computer screen: It is important to make sure the computer screen does not sit too high or too low. If there is enough room on the desk, a monitor arm can help minimize risks of developing problems.
- Repetitive head movements: Moving your head back and forth repeatedly, such as looking at document stand and then computer screen, can put strain and stress on ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
- Seat is too low: Make sure the desk chair is not too low. The chair should also have arm rests.
- Stress and tension: Dealing with a lot of stress in their job can also contribute to physical problems in the upper body when sitting at a computer all day.
It is not only office workers who risk developing neck pain from frequent computer use. Even home users find themselves seeking help from a chiropractor to treat chronic neck pain. Home electronics can also pose the same painful issues. In addition to home computers, iPads, Kindles, and even smartphones use put stress on the user’s neck. Looking down at your phone for hours texting and checking social media, can result in a very painful condition involving the neck, head, and shoulders.
How you sit and hold these devices can make a difference in protecting from injury. Changing the angle of the device can actually provide relief. Most people hold their device in their laps and this causes the vertebrae in the neck to bend in such a way that causes a strain that can injure discs, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons.
To avoid these issues, a chiropractor may recommend the following tips:
- Change the position you are sitting in every 15 minutes
- Hold your elbows close to the body
- Keep your forearms parallel to the floor
- Keep your shoulders relaxed
A neck pain doctor Gaithersburg, MD trusts can offer treatments which can alleviate the pain and manipulate the neck and spine back into place. It is hard to believe, but it is only seven small vertebrae that are responsible for holding up our heads, which average about 12 pounds. A chiropractor can also recommend muscle strengthening and stretching exercises to help keep those vertebrae safe and reduce the strain being put on your neck. He or she may also recommend applying heat or ice to help reduce painful symptoms.
Thank you to our contributors at the Pain Arthritis Relief Center for the insight into chronic neck pain.