The year 2020 is memorable for many reasons, but one thing that continues to impact patients at Apex Medical Center is the widespread ability to work from home. Along with more people working from home over the last three years, our experts have also noticed an uptick in patients with neck pain.
Remote work can mean no commute, more economical eating, less need for expensive clothing, and plenty of other perks. But it doesn’t include an understanding of how to set your workspace up to keep your body safe. In the age of computing, your neck is especially vulnerable.
The weight of your head
Have you ever heard of tech neck? It’s neck strain due to holding your head slightly forward while looking down. Think about how most people hold their phones. If you use a laptop for work, you may tend to sit in a way that causes neck strain.
The average human head weighs around eight pounds—about the same as a bowling ball. Your body is constructed so that your head balances on your neck. We have a fantastic amount of mobility in our necks, but holding your head in one way for too long results in pain.
If you think about how your neck feels when you sleep with your head in an odd position, you have a good idea of what tech neck feels like. Your muscles are sore and tender, but the pain becomes chronic instead of lasting for just a day or two.
Consequences of neck strain
Sitting on your sofa with your laptop or even at an improperly set up workstation can cause chronic neck pain, but you may experience additional consequences over time. The strain can lead to pinched nerves, shoulder pain, headaches, or even a herniated disc.
How to avoid neck pain
Setting up your workstation to fit your body and to avoid sitting with your neck forward and tilted requires a few steps:
Be sure to use a desk or table
Sitting with your computer on your lap directly leads to neck pain. You want to use a flat surface that allows you to sit with your feet flat and your elbows at a 90-degree angle to reach the keyboard.
Make sure your screen is at the correct height
When you sit with your feet flat and look straight ahead, your eyes should be looking directly at your screen. You shouldn’t need to look up or down. You may need to use a riser or a footstool.
Get a screen that’s the right size
You may need to get an external screen or switch from a laptop to a desktop if you find yourself leaning forward to see your screen.
If you’re experiencing neck pain, seek medical care. It may seem like a minor annoyance, but neck pain can become debilitating. Our providers are especially skilled in helping patients with chronic pain.
Even if you’ve had neck pain for months or years, we can help you understand why and offer strategies and treatments to help you feel better. Schedule your appointment with us today.