Neck pain is very similar to back pain in that there are many structures located in the neck that could be causing ones pain. The structures that could be involved with the neck pain can include the muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and discs. Typically the majority of neck pain injuries are usually minor strains or sprains. The onset of neck pain can often come about from poor posture, movement of the neck or whiplash incidents such as car accidents.
Typically I would say that previous history of neck complaints and poor posture are two of the most common risk factors for people developing neck pain. This is especially true for our practice which is located in the heart of the Melbourne City CBD and Docklands where many of our clients are office based workers. 9 out 10 times I these individuals have simply been spending too many hours in front of the computer with poor posture. It is not uncommon for many people to spend 8-10 hours a day working at the computer and only taking 2-3 breaks in the day. Prolonged sitting postures, poor posture and a poorly set up ergonomic workstation can all increase ones risk of developing strains and sprains in the neck and shoulders.
Preventing Neck Pain In The Workplace
- Take breaks every 30-45 minutes. This means you must get up and move away from your workstation to move the body.
- Have your workstation assessed to ensure that your equipment is set up (that is monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair, desk etc) to suit you. Not the other way around where you are forced to fit into your workstation.
- Take lunch away from the desk. That is, don’t eat your lunch at your desk and check your emails.
- Perform stretches and mobility exercises to the neck and shoulders to keep muscles relaxed and supple
Managing Your Neck Pain
Many people will often find rest, avoiding the aggravating postures, movements and activities, ice/heat and over the counter pain medication to be helpful for acute neck pain. Those with more chronic neck complaints may find regular exercise and stretching to be also quite helpful. Ensuring one has a good workplace ergonomic set up and sleeps with a comfortable pillow that is suited to them are also key things that one must try and ensure they do to help prevent neck pain. Often manual therapy such as massage, dry needling, stretching and manipulation can also be helpful for neck pain.
When To See Your Doctor
Neck pain that is progressively worsening or where there might be neurological symptoms into the arms or face suggest that you should see your doctor immediately.
This blog was written by Osteopath Heath Williams. Heath is the director of Principle Four Osteopathy and Corporate Work Health Australia. Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD 3000 & Docklands 3008 leading Osteopathic clinics.
Principle Four Osteopathy Melbourne City – 29 Somerset Place, Basement Level, 3000
Principle Four Osteopathy Docklands – 717 Bourke St, Ground Level, 3008
Appointments can be made by calling 03 9670 9290 or booking online @ www.principlefourosteopathy.com.