More and more people I come across speak to me about sore necks and headaches from tension. Although this is not a new phenomenon, I can’t help to think that in many cases it is related to posture and bio-mechanics. Upon further investigation and questioning, it turns out that computer usage, cell phones, smart phones and MP3 players are largely to blame.
So many of us rely on “screens” to give us information on a daily basis. We search on the Internet for the best prices and solutions to our questions and problems. Some of us “text” like crazy with our heads bent forward putting strain on our necks. Even searching for a song on our MP3’s is putting strain on our necks. Blackberries, IPhones, Palms and other popular smart phones, have us checking Facebook, Twitter, email and surfing the web at any time in any place. My point is, if you are not careful with the way you are looking at your screens, it can become a real “pain in the neck”!
Basic ergonomics say that you should sit with the natural curves in your neck and back. Your computer screen should be at eye height and you should sit upright with your feet comfortably on the ground in front of you. Your arms and hands should be comfortably bent at close to 90 degrees. (More to come on another blog post.)
Now let’s talk hand held devices! It has been very rare for me where I have seen someone on their cell phone texting at eye height. Take a look around the next time you are out in public. I also really like the the phone resting on the ear and shoulder routine while driving or taking notes. I have even seen people out there performing the ear-shoulder routine while copying directions, putting on make-up, smoking and steering with their knees. OK…. enough ranting!
Again, my point is, be aware of the position you are working/talking/texting/socializing in.
I have come across a great article posted by guardian.co.uk. It speaks about the various treatments for neck pain. I have to say that it is quite an extensive list. They authors go through topics such as:
- Painkillers, heat or ice for when you first get a sore neck.
- Hands-on treatment by professionals.
- Keeping active and exercising
- Improving your posture
They also go into detail about:
- Treatments that are likely to work – Mobilisation (often done by a physiotherapist), Manipulation (often done by a chiropractor), Exercise, Manipulation plus exercise, and Acupuncture.
- Treatments that need further study – Biofeedback, Drug treatments (Painkillers, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Stronger painkillers, Antidepressants, Muscle relaxants), Hot and cold packs, Being treated by a specialist team, Education programmes, Soft collars and special pillows, Traction, TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), Injections for neck pain caused by an injured nerve, and Surgery for neck pain caused by an injured nerve.
Needless to say, the article is quite good and has references. You can find it – HERE –
If I can add my two cents, neck pain is nothing to take lightly when it lasts and lasts. You should definitely seek professional advice. For basic neck stiffness and soreness that comes and goes from stress and repetitive movements, I would recommend using a massage tool such as the TriggerWheel. Just roll it up and down your neck and you can instantly identify trigger points and start releasing tension and stiffness.