Computer related neck pain and headaches are one of the most common ailments that doctors treat. Each year, millions of dollars are spent on pain relieving over the counter medications, pain patches, massage therapy, ice/heat and stand up desks due to repetitive computer use. While many of these provide temporary relief, the main goal should always be to correct the source of the problem and why certain people suffer pain during work and others do not. The following article will provide advice and a diagram of how to set up your workstation to reduce neck pain and headaches.
The following diagram illustrates how an ergonomically proper desk setup should be. The most important aspects are to make sure that your feet are flat on the floor, and both your arms and thighs are parallel to the floor. Also, make sure that your monitor(s) is in line with your field of vision so that you don’t have to look up, down, left or right to see the screen. If your job requires you to speak on the phone frequently, use a headset to keep your neck and shoulders neutral. Many companies have a process in place to analyze employee’s desks.
If you feel as though you have the correct desk setup and still suffer from neck pain and headaches you might have a muscle imbalance causing a neck misalignment referred to a cervical kyphosis. A cervical kyphosis is when the spinal column’s curvature within the neck is reversed. Repetitive computer work can lead to stronger muscles in the front of the the neck compared to the back. When the muscle imbalance occurs, common symptoms include neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain and tension as well as numbness/tingling into the arms and fingers. As time passes, it is common to struggle with postural problems including slouching and having your shoulders roll forward.
The best way to correct the cervical spinal curve is through corrective chiropractic care. This includes specifically angled chiropractic adjustments to the cervical spine and strengthening exercises to reverse the muscle imbalance. Not all kyphotic curves can be corrected fully but sometimes the smallest changes can lead to a dramatic improvement in a patient’s quality of life!
The before and after x-ray of a patient in my office. At 32, she experienced neck pain, shoulder pain and tension headaches 2-3 times per week and was taking Ibuprofen daily and having massages weekly. The before x-ray shows the kyphotic cervical curve and the after x-ray shows her progress following 4 weeks of chiropractic care at with Dr. Bob Mason. Her treatments consisted of weekly chiropractic adjustments and 4 at home exercises. Because her neck curvature has changed, her neck and shoulder pain are 80% better and her headaches are completely gone!
If you have changed your desk setup, but still suffer from neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches call 980.406.3862 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bob Mason, a chiropractor in Charlotte, N.C.
Dr. Bob is a certified corrective care chiropractor which means his focus relies on both correcting the spinal alignment as well as correcting muscle imbalances to hold it in place.