Your hidden cause of neck pain, headaches and tension

desk postureYour computer or workstation can cause you pain.

Do you have headaches, stress or tension? Do these symptoms occur especially while at work or at the end of the day?

Your workstation, desk or computer environment may be the cause, or a major contributor factor to your pain and discomfort. Some of the problems your sitting posture can contribute to are headaches, neck pain, eye pain, shoulder knots & tension, back pain, wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and fatigue. If you maintain a sustained posture throughout the day it can create patterns of myofascial and muscle tightens that can contribute to pain elsewhere in your body.

Sitting down all day shortens your hip flexors, pecs and suboccipital muscles and sticks your head forward, allowing these muscles to tighten over time and cause or contribute to pain and restrictions in your body.

A few things you can do to address these issues and prevent problems:

1) Take frequent stretch breaks from your work area.

  • Put your hands behind your head and stretch backwards over the edge of your chair to open up your chest, front of your neck and to extend your spine backwards.  
  • Cross your legs, pull the top leg into your chest for a hip stretch.  Then twist, towards the same side as your top leg, to look behind you.  This should feel good.  Repeat on the other side.
  • Put your hands on your desk and arch your back like a “cat.”  Then round your back the other way, stomach forward, like a “cow.” viola… desk yoga.

2) Get up and walk around the office at least once an hour.  Take wellness break and go outside and get a breath of fresh air, go to the water fountain for a sip of water or “take a lap” around your office to get your blood flowing again and muscles moving.

3) Sit with your keyboard, mouse and computer monitor in front of you. You should sit with both feet on the floor, your hips slightly above your knees, your back supported, elbows at your side and hands comfortably on the keyboard. The top edge of your monitor should be the same level as your eyebrows and it should be about 18″ away from you.

desk ergonomics

img source: http://www.forbes.com/2008/06/24/office-pains-aches-lead-careers-cx_tw_0624bizbasics.html

4) If you wear bifocals and need to use the lower lens at your computer, it may cause you to extend your neck too far back. To reduce this, invest in a dedicated pair of glasses for when you sit at your computer.

5) If you talk or use the phone for your job holding a telephone between your head and shoulder is asking for neck and shoulder pain. Invest in or ask your employer for a “hands free” headset. This will give you the freedom to sit with good posture at your desk and easier use of both hands.

Our physical therapist at LeBauer Physical Therapy in Greensboro, NC specializes in 1-on-1 hands-on physical therapy, massage therapy and myofascial release. We will help you eliminate and control your pain and symptoms and will spend the time to teach you proper biomechanics and a home self-treatment program.

If you live in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Hight Point, Jamestown, Kernersville, Thomasville, Asheboro or any other surrounding community please call us to schedule an appointment with our Doctor of Physical Therapy.

About The Author

Aaron LeBauer

Dr. Aaron LeBauer is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist. He owns LeBauer Physical Therapy, LLC, with his wife Andra, in Greensboro, N.C. He earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Elon University in 2008. Dr. LeBauer graduated from Duke University in 1996 with a B.A. in History and moved to San Francisco where he studied Massage Therapy and Health Education at the National Holistic Institute. He has specialized in Myofascial Release since 2000 and is an Instructor with the John F. Barnes MFR Seminars. A native of Greensboro, Dr. LeBauer returned in 2005 to continue the third generation of LeBauers as health care professionals in Greensboro. Dr. LeBauer enjoys riding one of his vintage Vespa and Lambretta scooters or his bicycle to work. He has raced bicycles since high school and as a category 1 amateur all over the United States. He was based out of Northern California and North Carolina and spent a very memorable summer racing in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. He enjoys working in his garden and has an edible landscape including pears, apples, scuppernogs (native muscadine grapes), raspberries, blueberries, figs, various seasonal vegetables and shiitake mushrooms. He has two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife.

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