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Posted on 11-23-2016

                                       Working Through Neck Pain and Improving Ergonomics

     At some point or another, most employees have experienced neck pain that is at least partially work-related, regardless of the job type.  Some causes may be due to trauma such as slipping or falling or lifting something too heavy.  However, the most common cause is that of cumulative trauma disorders relating to poor posture, muscle fatique, and stress.  
     When you consider the structure of the neck, your approximately 10-pound head is balanced on the cervical spine and is controlled by muscles, tendons, and ligaments -it becomes understandable how injuries can happen.  The good news is that there are simple things that everyone can do-both to your work station and in other areas of your life-to reduce the likelihood of neck pain.
     Too often, people begin jobs with work stations set up in a particular way and do not think of personalizing the placement of often used office equipment and supplies.  The following will personalize the work area and reduce the risk of neck aches.
     1) Make sure your chair, desk, table and work station are at the right height for you.
     2) If you work at a computer, position it at eye level or just below eye level.  You do not want to be 
         looking up at the screen and you do not want to be looking down at the screen at a sharp angle.
     3) Keep all paperwork as close to eye level as possible.  Many stands and other devices are available that allow paperwork to be placed right next to typewriters and computer monitors.
     4) Take frequent breaks from your work station.  Get up, stretch fatigued muscles, and allow your eyes to focus on something in the distance.  Doing this will help prevent eye and neck strain as well as headache symptomotology.
     5) Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes, especially if you will be doing alot of walking or standing.  Wear non-slip shoes to avoid falls.
     6) Use a telephone headset if your job requires long hours on the phone.  This is particularly important if you will be writing or typing while on the phone.  Cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder will quickly tire the neck and shoulder musculature and create tension.
     7) Practice stress relieving techniques during the day.  Your doctor of chiropractic can teach tech-niques that are both appropriate and inconspicuous.
     8) Examine other areas of your life that may stress your neck.  Common problem areas include poor postures while sleeping, reading, or watching television while in bed; hobbies which require bending over a table or desk for long periods; driving postures; and poor lifting techniques.
     Following an accident, when pain lasts longer than 24 hours or becomes increasingly common, it is
wise to seek chiropractic treatment to rule out serious injury.  Neck pain that worsens when you sneeze,
cough, or laugh, or if you have nausea, numbness, headache, or dizziness in addition to the pain should
cause a victim to seek care immediately.  These symptoms may indicate, disc, nerve, or spinal cord injury.
     The chiropractic approach to neck pain is to locate its underlying cause.  Special attention is given to the structure and function of the spine, and its affect on the nervous system.  A chiropractor will look for problems such as a reduction in a spinal curve, pinched nerves, and head and shoulder leveling.  Specific chiropracic adjustments will improve the motion and position of the spinal vertebrae.  With improved structure and function, neck pain often decreases or goes away completely. 

Timothy S. Cheuvront, D.C., C.C.S.P.
Chiropractic Sports Physician

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