Reducing Neck and Back Pain at Work

updated: 2/13/2023

Leaning over computers or mobile devices is a common cause of tech neck. Tech neck, also known as “text neck,” is a condition that results from excessive and prolonged use of digital devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. It is caused by the unnatural positioning of the head and neck when looking down at these devices for extended periods. 

The pain may be constant for some, while others may only experience neck pain during the night and will wake in the morning with the pain gone. However, as this issue continues, you may find that the pain is becoming more intense, lasting longer. You may even have pain that continues to bother you into the weekend, affecting your ability to participate in the activities you love.

When left untreated, this type of neck pain can result in a limited range of motion and problems with your muscles, discs, and joints.

By making certain changes at the office and being more aware of your posture throughout the day, and correcting it, you can reduce chronic computer neck aches and pains.

Common causes of computer neck include:

  • Poor posture
  • Stress
  • Office chair
  • Desk setup

Sitting close to our computer monitor, focused on a project, our posture is often the last thing on our minds. While you may have started off using the correct posture, after sitting for several hours, not only does your posture begin to suffer, but sitting alone can cause significant posture strain on the back, shoulders, and neck. Once you begin to feel discomfort in your neck and shoulders, the muscles in these areas become tense. Muscles in the surrounding areas will compensate for fatigued primary stabilizing muscles by contracting. When the neck muscles contract, it can cause intense pain and tension throughout the neck and upper back.

Symptoms of tech neck can include:

  • Muscle pain 
  • Shoulder pain 
  • Stiff neck
  • Neck spasms 

Failing to address this issue can cause extreme pain and make neck muscles weaker. Making important changes to your workspace can help minimize pain, although, in severe cases, getting treatment from a chiropractor may be needed.

Take a Break

If you have to sit at a desk hour after hour, try to limit your desk time to thirty-minute periods, after which you must take a break to stretch and move around. Doing so can help prevent a stiff neck and other symptoms of tech neck. Additionally, it is important to maintain a neutral posture when using digital devices. This means keeping your head and neck in a straight line with your spine rather than tilting them forward. An ergonomic desk setup can also help ensure you use your devices safely and healthily.

Is Your Chair Supportive?

The type of chair you use can also affect your discomfort. Make sure the chair you use can properly support your body. Some chairs are very versatile and can adapt to various body types. To prevent posture slouching, your lower back should be well-supported. When you sit in your chair, your lower back should contact the lower part of the chair’s backrest. The curve of the chair should support the low back curve. If your chair lacks support, placing a pillow between your back and the chair’s backrest can help.

Next, sit with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees. Your torso should be upright with your elbows placed on the armrests.

Switch to a Standing Desk

Making the switch to a standing desk can be another way to eliminate neck pain at the office. Many models are height adjustable, allowing you to raise or lower the desk based on your height, to prevent neck strain. If you switch to a standing desk, posture will still be important. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight when using a standing desk. Avoid leaning forward. When using a standing desk, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight is important. This will help you maintain good posture and prevent slouching or leaning forward. It is also important to avoid standing in one place for long periods, as this can lead to fatigue and other health issues. Instead, it is recommended to alternate between sitting and standing positions throughout the day to give your body a chance to rest and recover.

Adjust Your Usual Desk

If your desk isn’t adjusted correctly, it can contribute to your neck pain. If you have a basic desk, the height of the work surface should allow you to type in a comfortable position. When a desk is too high, many people compensate by bringing their shoulders closer to their ears, causing their hands, wrists, and forearms to rise. After a few hours, the neck muscles will become fatigued and may begin to spasm.

If the work surface is too low, the user is forced to flex their trunk when using the keyboard, causing the neck to extend more than usual.
To prevent neck pain and discomfort, the desk must be adjusted to a height that will allow you to reach the desk’s surface with the elbows bent at 90 degrees and the arms at your sides, with your feet flat on the floor.

Reposition Your Monitor

If your computer monitor is too high or too low, it can worsen neck pain. Your monitor should be adjusted to sit slightly below your eye level to promote a neutral spine position. When your monitor is at the correct height, you should be able to look straight ahead at the screen without having to tilt your head up or down.

If your monitor is too high, you may be tempted to tilt your head downward to see the screen, which can lead to neck pain and headaches. If your monitor is too low, you may be straining your neck upward to see the screen, leading to neck pain.

To adjust the height of your computer monitor, you may need to use a monitor stand or a monitor arm. Some monitors come with built-in height adjustment, so you can adjust the monitor’s height to suit your needs.

It’s also important to adjust the angle and tilt of your monitor to reduce eye strain and prevent neck pain. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level, and the monitor should be angled slightly towards you to reduce glare and eye strain.

When Neck Pain Continues

If you’ve made the appropriate changes at work, adjusted your desk, chair, and monitor, and focused on using healthy posture, but you’re still experiencing neck pain, it’s time to make an appointment with a chiropractor. A licensed chiropractor can assess your spine and determine if your neck issue is caused by neck joints that are out of alignment, a misaligned spine, a pinched nerve, or other issues. They can then perform an adjustment to realign the vertebrae and joints, improving your range of motion and alleviating neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Treatment Frequency 

If you’ve been dealing with chronic neck pain and other symptoms of tech neck for several weeks or months, you may require a series of adjustments over weeks. A chiropractor can create a personalized treatment plan that will include treatment frequency and may also include exercises. Postural changes are needed to help alleviate pain, improve range of motion and flexibility, and prevent neck pain.

Contact Advantage Chiropractic Today to Schedule an Appointment

If you’ve been suffering from neck pain for several days, weeks, or months, and it’s impacting your productivity and performance at work, and your quality of sleep, it’s time to contact Advantage Chiropractic to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed, experienced chiropractors. Chiropractic treatment, combined with exercises and simple changes at work, can make neck spasms and pain a thing of the past, improving your sleep, work performance, focus, and quality of life. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Make An Appointment 

As we all know the longer that we leave a problem untreated the longer it will take to get it corrected. The sooner you take action with your health problems the quicker you are able to live your life happy, healthy and pain free. Please fill out this form to start your journey of healing.