Three most common neck injuries while working at a computer

Working from home brings its own unique set of challenges and obstacles, from setting up your workspace correctly to properly organising your time and balancing it between work and life. There are also other factors that many people don’t take into consideration, at least not until it is too late.

The neck is one area that can be affected by prolonged computer use, especially when working from home – this is because the desk we sit at is sometimes a dining table, and the chair we sit at is a dining chair. The problem? Neither of these two things is the correct height for computer use.

Neck pain and injuries, or pain at the base of the skull are typical symptoms of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). RSI typically arises from the overuse of the tendons that can be found at the base of the skull.

There are three main causes of neck injuries that can occur while working at a computer.

Postural Strain

Proper posture is one of the most important considerations when it comes to preventing neck pain while working at your computer. Wherever you happen to be working in the home, even if you have a proper desk and chair, sitting for several hours at a time can cause significant postural strain in the neck.

The muscles around the spine and the shoulder girdle become tense as you start to experience soreness in the neck. Continuing to work in this position is going to cause these muscles to become fatigued and more painful. As this happens, the primary stabilising muscles contract to compensate and this leads to further pain.

Proper posture, and getting away from the computer every couple of hours will help to prevent this type of muscle pain in the neck.

Improper desk set up

The desk is an integral part of the workspace at home, but if it is not set up correctly then it can contribute to neck pain. With a standard sitting desk, its height should allow for natural typing. Otherwise, you may want to consider a keyboard tray on the underside of the desk.

A desk that is too high will cause you to compensate by shrugging your shoulders so you elevate your forearms, wrists and your hands to a more natural height. Unfortunately, this will result in the tightening of your neck muscles and they will start to become fatigued and spasm.

The tension created often ‘moves’ to the suboccipital muscles at the base of the skull. If that happens then you won’t just have a sore neck, but a headache too.

Improper monitor setup

A computer monitor is also a possible source of neck pain when working at a computer for extended periods. Ideally, the monitor should be positioned so that it is either at or slightly below eye level.

Having your monitor set this way helps to promote a neutral spine position for your neck. All monitors come with a stand attached, and the majority can be adjusted. For those that cannot be adjusted, a monitor mount can be attached.

Relieving neck pain

An effective remedy for chronic neck pain is a deep tissue massage. This typically makes use of deep strokes and friction to work on the connective tissues of the neck and deeper muscle layers.

Deep tissue massage is also known as connective tissue massage, and it can work wonders when helping to relieve the symptoms associated with neck pain and muscle injury. Whether remote or face to face, Paulius can help you.

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