If you experience neck pain on occasion after working on a computer for an extended period of time or use a computer so often that it causes daily neck pain, then you may think that this pain is a simply unavoidable hazard of computer usage. In fact, so many people experience neck pain stemming from computer usage that this symptom has been dubbed tech neck.
While neck pain after use of a computer is common, you can help prevent this pain by following these tips.
1. Position Your Computer Properly
While it is also unhealthy to hold your neck back for extended periods of time, many people who work on computers position them in a way that requires them to look down at the computer screen when working. When you look downward, the muscles in your neck must contract to support the weight of your head, and the further down you look, the more these muscles contract. Placing more stress on these muscles than necessary by looking downward during computer use can lead to neck pain.
To avoid looking downward during computer use, you can simply reposition your computer monitor or screen to where your eyes are level with the top of the screen. When your screen is set at this position, you will find yourself naturally holding your head more upright to reduce the neck muscle contractions that can cause neck pain.
2. Recline Your Chair During Computer Use
Another way to prevent neck pain stemming from computer use is to stop sitting in a computer chair in the completely upright position and instead recline the chair to about a 25- to a 30-degree angle. This slight recline can reduce the pressure placed on the discs, which are the cushions that lie between small bones called vertebrae, in your neck and back to further help prevent neck pain and back pain.
In addition, it allows your neck muscles that must contract slightly to hold your head upright to stop contracting altogether.
3. Consider a Standing Desk
If you find that reclining slightly while working on your computer does not alleviate your neck pain, then you may want to instead try placing your computer on a standing desk and standing up while you work. Some people find it all too easy to begin working on a computer with proper posture and then, as the day goes on, begin slouching as they become tired, which can place unnecessary stress on the neck.
However, when standing, many people find keeping their bodies in proper alignment to prevent neck pain easier, especially when they are tired at the end of a workday.
Try these tips to alleviate the neck pain you may experience after working on a computer for long hours. If your neck pain is severe, then contact a chiropractor, like Eric Schmetterling DC. A chiropractor can determine if you may have a medical condition that is causing your neck pain and recommend treatments that can help eliminate this pain if a medical problem is suspected.