Neck Pain and Computer Use

Neck Pain and Computer Use


Anyone who uses a PC at all for any length of time is usually aware that it is a good idea to adopt proper posture, not to hunch over the PC and to take regular breaks from the PC. Unfortunately there is a huge gap between the theory and practice and everyone, or at the very least most people, simply think that they will be fine and that they will not suffer from neck pain.


The truth is that nearly everyone who uses a PC for 20 hours or more every week is very much at risk from developing some kind of ‘problem’ associated with using a computer; no one is immune. The problem may not start today, or it may not start tomorrow, but it could start either later this year or next. So it is never too late to start making sure that you do adopt proper posture.


Why Do Problems Start?


The use of computers may be extremely common and nearly everyone uses a PC at some stage. However, the use of computers has really mushroomed quite recently and it is only in the last twenty years or so that their use has become so prevalent. 20 years is absolutely nothing in terms of evolution and basically we are not evolved into sitting for long periods, hunched over a PC screen, surfing the net, working or playing some kind of games on the internet. Our bodies are still adapted to hunting, gathering and being able to fight off predators.


The Anatomy


We all (or most of us) take our bodies for granted, but they are actually a very delicate and incredibly complicated ‘machine’ to some extent. The body is balanced and indeed needs to be balanced for us to walk and stay upright, but the balance is created (in part) by the way that weight is distributed down the spine and the legs. 


The head, in itself is exceptionally heavy and needs to be in a good position otherwise the muscles and joints in the neck, the back and down toward the legs are put into a situation where pressure and stress is exerted on to them, often for very long periods.


In addition the lower back is affected because when we sit in front of a PC we reduce the curve that is naturally found in the lower back and in the neck, this can lead to problems in this area.


Often the pectoral muscles in the chest become shortened from sitting at a PC for too long. This means that when using a PC you can find that your head starts to lean towards the screen. This is a sure sign that the pectoral muscles are shortened and that the muscles/joints in the neck area are simply overtired and that they are struggling to keep the head in a good position.


Adopt Good Posture Now!


The best way of treating neck pain arising from computer use is to prevent it starting in the first place. Everyone who uses a PC for work needs to have an assessment of their workplace in terms of using a PC and if you use a PC at home, make sure that the seating arrangement is such that you are not hunched over the screen, use a lumbar support cushion if required and take frequent breaks to ensure that you do not place the health of your neck and spine at risk, now or in the future!



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