We’ve been talking a lot about the issues that can come with increased computer use. Carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and back pain are all becoming more common complaints. That’s because so many of us are working from home due to the coronavirus health crisis. Since we are going out less, we’re also relying on virtual entertainment from computers and smartphones, too. In some ways, technology is a saving grace in the current challenging time. We can stay connected to loved ones, hold virtual meetings for work, and even get some types of medical care.
However, increased tech use is not without risks. There are several posts on our blog about carpal tunnel syndrome. We’ve talked about different stretches and exercises you can do to alleviate pain in your wrists and fingers from computer use.
Take a Break to Avoid Neck Pain
Something we haven’t talked as much about how neck and back pain can develop after sitting at the computer for a long time. Bad posture can contribute to pain. Sitting slumped over tends to put the bones and muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back out of their proper alignment. Sitting for too long in any position can also put stress on the body and cause pain. Make a point of getting up regularly to stretch or drink water.
Electromyography Testing Shows Stress Caused by Slumping
Researchers at San Francisco State University did a study last year that showed that sitting with the head and neck jutted forward is a huge contributor to neck pain. It’s very common to see people sitting in this way, usually to get a better look at something on the computer screen. Study participants were asked to sit in this position. Then scientists measured the tension in the trapezius muscle using electromyography testing. We use the same testing in our office to help diagnose nerve pain. People who sat in the head forward position showed more stress on the trapezius muscle, which supports the neck, shoulders, and arms.
If you find yourself with lots of pain in your neck, shoulders, arms, and back, try raising your computer monitor to be level with your eyes. You can also try increasing the font size when you’re reading an article.
Do not ignore nerve pain that lasts for a long time or gets worse over time. Contact our office to set up testing so you can find the right treatment for your pain.