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Neck Pain After Extended Computer Use

Apr 15, 2008
You sit down at your computer, ready to put in a full day's work and make some serious headway on your projects. You know you'll easily be spending 8 to 10 hours sitting in front of the computer.

You've set up your computer workstation as effectively as you can figure. Your keyboard is appropriately placed in front of you and your monitor is directly in front of you at eye level. So why will your neck start to hurt? Why will your effectiveness be destroyed by the nagging, aggravating neck pain that seems to show up more and more frequently?

If you are regularly spending a lot of time in front of a computer, you have to realize that your body is going to begin to change and adapt to take on this frequent activity. Your front neck muscles are slowly growing shorter and tighter, while the muscles in the back of your neck are growing longer and weaker.

The back muscles are also growing full of spasm and knots while they are forced to hold up your ten pound head for hours at a time. You would think they would grow stronger from having to hold your head up all the time, but it just never seems to work that way. As they get longer, they are growing weaker, and the job of holding up your head becomes increasingly difficult.

The best options are to do exercises and activities that will counteract the extended computer usage. The rule of thumb is to spend time stretching the front of your neck and strengthening the muscles in the back. This same rule applies to anyone looking to improve posture.

To stretch the front of the neck, turn your head slightly to one side, about forty-five degrees. If you turn your head to the right, you are stretching the left and vice versa. Place your right hand on left side of your chest and pull down gently as you tilt your head back. Stop immediately if you feel sharp pain or any dizziness.

To strengthen the back of the neck, the easiest route would be with a neck exercise machine. Some health clubs have them, but they are more of a specialized device. You can also fold up a towel and place it against a wall. Put the back of your head against the towel and push into it. Hold for a few seconds and release. This is an isometric contraction.

If you are unable to complete some of these movements, or you find that you can't painlessly move your head backwards, it may be time to visit a chiropractor. The chiropractor will perform a spinal adjustment and restore the normal movement of your spine.

Your neck shouldn't hurt just because your sitting in front of your computer. You've got to work and pain can be a nuisance, but it doesn't have to be there with a little effort.
About the Author
Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, Texas. More information about this Houston Chiropractor can be found on his website at http://www.MyHoustonChiropractor.com
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