Neck pain bothering you more often these days? Our bodies weren’t designed to use technology like laptop computers and mobile phone screens for hours on end every day. We also haven’t done a very good job of conforming the technology to meet our physical needs, which results in more patients coming in to see me for neck pain.
Sitting in front of a desktop computer, for instance, can cause a lot of neck discomfort. Our bodies aren’t supposed to be stationary, with only our fingers moving to type or a hand hovering over the computer mouse. The muscles attached to our neck are now being used to stabilize our shoulders, and they’re not built to do that for prolonged periods of time. As those muscles fatigue, they develop trigger or tender points and become painful.
We see a lot of people experiencing neck pain caused by bad habits they’ve developed while using technology, rather than activity-related or overuse issues. Texting on your phone or playing video games for extended periods of time places a great deal of stress on your neck, as does slouching on the couch while working on your laptop or holding your phone between your ear and shoulder to talk hands-free.
Common Tech Habits That Hurt Your Neck
Ever notice how your posture changes when you use technology? Our bodies aren’t meant to sit for eight to 10 hours a day. If your job requires you to sit in front of a computer for a long time, try to stand up and move periodically. That’s the only way to save the rest of your back and relieve the stress on your neck.
While sitting at your desk, assume the best posture possible. Try to sit upright with your shoulders back and relaxed. Make sure your forearms are supported so the neck doesn’t need to work as hard to bear the weight of your arms as you type. Better still, ask your employer to invest in a treadmill desk so you can stand or walk while you work.
When talking on the phone, don’t hold the phone up by your shoulder. Invest in a headset or earbuds and keep your head upright.
Where is your computer screen and keyboard in relation to the height of your chair, desk or tabletop? Are you constantly turning your head to move from desktop to computer screen? This is a terrible set-up for your neck.
Often, the only way I can understand the problem is to see you in your office environment and ask detailed questions about your routine to get to the root of the issue. Making little changes can sometimes make a big difference.
If you’re interested in investigating the causes of your neck pain, please send us a message at Schuster Family Medicine & Osteopathic Manual Medicine or give us a call at 317-434-1750.