– by Dr. Jean Gibson, D.C. BioVeda Health & Wellness Center of Fayetteville, AR
Have you experienced neck pain after a long day at work? There are many cause of neck pain, but one of the most common causes is related to poor posture, muscle fatigue and stress while in front of your computer or while at your desk. Your head, which weighs approximately 10 pounds, is balanced on your cervical spine (the neck) and is controlled by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It’s like balancing a bowling ball on a broom stick using dental floss and twine – if you don’t keep the bowling ball perfectly balanced on the stick, the ball will pull on the floss and twine, which will stretch and ultimately the ball will not stay in place! While your head will not fall off your neck, the damage done to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments by poor posture does require intervention. Many of us have our work stations set up for us by either our employer or the previous person in the office. We never think to personalize the placement of our computer keyboard, mouse, monitor and telephone to fit our body. Just a few changes in the set up of your office can make a big difference in your neck pain:
- Make sure your desk, chair, table and work station are at the right height for you.
- Position your computer at eye level or just below eye level. You do not want to be looking up at the screen or looking down at a sharp angle at the screen.
- Keep all paperwork as close to eye level as possible. Try not to look up or down at sharp angles or look to the side and back at the monitor.
- Take frequent breaks from your work station. Get up, stretch tired muscles and allow your eyes a rest from your monitor.
- Use a hands free headset or speaker phone. Cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder quickly tires shoulder muscles and leads to issues with not only your neck, but your shoulder also.
If you are already experiencing pain in the shoulder or neck, treatment is necessary. Pain relievers only mask the problem, and you may inadvertently aggravate the problem because your body’s warning system – pain – has been temporarily turned off. A Doctor of Chiropractic will incorporate various techniques to fix any issues with your cervical spine, as well as the muscles and ligaments involved. They can also advise your on stress reduction and posture issues to help your body to function at its peak.