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Help for Working-From-Home Neck Pain

man working sitting with neck painSitting at our desks for eight or more hours a day. Looking over our child’s computer while they’re doing schoolwork at home. Checking out reports online about the pandemic. These days we believe that 80% of Americans spend 80% of their time at the computer.

Dealing With Different Types of Discomfort

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the lines between home and work are blurred in every industry and we’re spending lots of time glued to the screen.

We’re seeing new patients come in with neck or low back pain who haven’t had it before and established patients come in with different types of discomfort. While it’s positive in some regards that patients aren’t spending all that time in their cars people are working more, not less.

Neck Pain & Tension Headaches

Neck pain and pain in the cervical thoracic junction (the area where your neck and shoulders come together) is often felt as tightness in the neck that travels out to the shoulder blades. We’re seeing this as we’re sitting at the computer or sitting in general. Because our posture changes while we sit for long periods, we have a lot of trigger points and a lot of muscle tension in the levator scapulae muscle, which helps to facilitate movement.

That muscle gets irritated as we type and mouse. The levator scapulae contracts to elevate our shoulder blade and we weren’t built for that. What is often felt is a constant, low-grade deep ache because of the hours we’re looking at the screen. The more our patients work, the more they express that they feel tightness.

Many patients also complain of tension-based headaches due to screen time or their posture. How do these headaches happen? As the neck gets tighter, this band keeps traveling up the base of the skull around the front part of the head. People often experience headaches toward the end of the workday.

Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS)

We also see something called Upper Crossed Syndrome, which is caused by poor posture-from sitting at your desk for example. This modern-day malady results in rounded shoulders, forward head posture and a noticeable curve in the neck and upper back. Neck pain and headaches are often associated with UCS.

Chiropractic, Massage Therapy & Physical Therapy

To address the deep neck discomfort that many people are feeling these days, we provide effective chiropractic adjustments as well as helpful stretches.

With neck pain, we are seeing more radiating symptoms-not a pinched nerve but a peripheral entrapment. It’s the muscle and soft tissue that are affected. Something outside of the spine is pinching on the nerve. We see that a lot in the shoulder girdle or deep into the armpits that can produce radiating numbness and tingling.

That’s when massage therapy and physical therapy are incredibly beneficial. These soft tissue modalities can help with the suboccipital muscles.

Take Breaks and Get Moving

When working at home, you don’t have those water cooler conversations with your co-workers. Here’s what to do instead: If you work eight hours or so a day at your home office, we encourage you to take breaks and get up and move.

These could be every hour or half-hour. Whether you take a lap around your living room or walk up and down the stairs, you’re doing your body some good and it only takes about 15 seconds each time. Not only do these movement breaks help your posture and your muscles but your brain, nerves and synapses.

You don’t have to put up with neck pain. We are here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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