Do You Have Computer Neck Syndrome? Chiropractic Care Can Help
The average American spends more than 11 out of 18 waking hours in front of a screen, according to a recent Nielson report. While many are familiar with the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow from repetitive motions with a keyboard and mouse, excessive computer use also poses another risk: computer neck syndrome or postural syndrome.
Office workers are at the greatest risk of this chronic neck and back pain, but even the average person can develop computer neck after spending hours every day hunched over the computer. It’s estimated that more than 85% of computer workers report neck, shoulder, and upper back pain that may be acute or chronic.
Improper Posture and Neck Pain
Improper posture during computer use leads to muscular imbalance that causes stiff, tight muscles and eventually muscle spasms. When you sit in front of a computer for long periods of time, your body will adapt to the position by shortening your muscles and ligaments. This can lead to a hunched posture and a spine that molds to the new muscle changes.
The upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles are shoulder elevators that can become tight from poor posture, eventually tightening the muscles into a shrugged or hunched posture. Muscular imbalance can also happen when one group of muscles — such as the shoulders — are very tight while another group of muscles — such as the neck — are weak.
Common Causes of Computer Neck Syndrome
Women are most likely to suffer from neck and back pain along with people who report high stress levels and low levels of exercise. Workplace conditions can contribute to chronic neck and back pain. The following remedies can help reduce neck pain:
- Adjust the screen height. The top of the computer screen should be at eye level.
- Adjust the armrest height. Armrests should be at a comfortable height to avoid hunching.
- Correct shoulder elevation. Adjust the height of the chair so the feet are in full contact with the floor or use a footrest.
- Avoid repetitive head movements. Accessories like a monitor arm or writing slope can reduce repetitive head movements.
- Take breaks. Walk and change your posture every 30 minutes to avoid tension.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Computer neck syndrome can be addressed in a few ways. Along with taking the steps above to correct your posture while you work at the computer, chiropractic adjustments can open your spinal joints and restore your full range of motion. With computer neck, the chiropractor will focus on the thoracic and cervical spine (or the upper and lower back). An experienced chiropractor can also help you identify which muscles need to be relaxed and which need to be strengthened. In most cases, the upper back and neck muscles need to be stretched.
If you suffer from chronic or acute back or neck pain from computer use, treatment can give you relief. Contact Dr. Silver today to schedule an appointment for caring and effective chiropractic care to put an end to your discomfort.