Leaning over computers or mobile devices are common causes of tech neck. 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 for longer periods of time. 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:
At work, when we’re drawn closer to the 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:
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, treatment from a chiropractor may be needed.
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.
The type of chair you use can also play a role in your discomfort. Make sure the chair you use can properly support your body. Some chairs are very versatile and able to adapt to a variety of body types. To prevent you from slouching, your lower back should be well-supported. When you sit in your chair, your low back should make contact with the lower part of the chair’s backrest. The low back curve should be supported by the curve of the chair. If your chair is lacking 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.
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 decide to switch to a standing desk, posture will still be important. When using a standing desk, make sure you keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Avoid leaning forward.
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 will compensate by bringing their shoulders closer to their ears, causing their hands, wrists, and forearms to rise as well. 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. This can cause 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 surface of the desk with the elbows bent at 90 degrees and the arms at your sides, with your feet flat on the floor.
If your computer monitor is placed too high or too low, it can make neck pain worse. Your monitor should be adjusted so that it sits slightly below your eye level. This promotes a neutral spine position.
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.
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 a period of weeks. A chiropractor can create a personalized treatment plan that will include treatment frequency, and may also include exercises, and postural changes needed, to help alleviate pain, improve range of motion and flexibility, and prevent neck pain in the future.
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.