You are already aware of the unwavering presence that computers and related technology have in our lives. Usage of computers has risen substantially from the modest percentages of individuals who typed at keyboards in the 80s and early 90s, as the capabilities of today’s computers are essential in the workplace and have become mainstays in our daily activities at home.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 89% of all households contain the computer in 2016, and that percentage continues to increase. It has been estimated that anyone will be performing somewhere between 50.000 to 200,000 keystrokes each day if they are engaging in regular computer use.
Of course, the integral role that computers perform in our lives also means that you can become highly involved with your computers for an extensive amount of time. This includes the impactful process of looking down at your desktops and laptops, regardless of whether this is taking place at home or while you are working at our place of employment.
As minutes evolve into hours of usage on a repetitive basis, that can eventually make you vulnerable to health issues. This is particularly true if you are not using proper posture when you are engaged with your computer.
The potential for pain in various parts of your body includes regions of the neck. This is a byproduct of ongoing strain that can result in problems with the anatomy of your neck, including your bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. As you place yourself at risk of causing excessive pressure on your neck, the issues can also advance beyond your neck to your shoulder, spine, and cervical nerves.
If you consistently find yourself involved in a significant level of involvement with your computer, then the extensive usage will place you at risk of eventual health issues. Fortunately, you can decrease the risk of encountering health problems by using the correct posture at your computer.
Reducing The Risk Of Pain
In order to set up your workstation in a matter that reduces the risk of neck issues, it is important that you sit at your computer in a relaxed position. This includes making sure that your shoulders and ears remain parallel, and that your shoulders are also in proper alignment with your hips. It is also helpful to keep your lower arms in alignment with your hands.
It is also important that your fingers remain relaxed when you are typing or when you are using a mouse. If your hand and muscles are clenched, that will place stress on your musculoskeletal system. The mouse should also be held gently, and it is important to avoid placing tension in your fingers and hands while you are typing. It is also beneficial to take breaks from typing in order to rest your hands.
It will also be beneficial to make sure that your monitor is positioned so that your eyes are even with the top of your screen. You should also position your desk and chair so that you can keep your arms parallel with the floor, while also allowing you to avoid having your wrists from tilting upward or downward.
Any armrests on your chair should either be lowered or eliminated, which will enable you to maintain a relaxed posture with your neck and shoulders.
In addition to maintaining a posture that will diminish the chances of strain on your neck, you can also perform exercises that strengthen your neck and improve its flexibility. However, it is important that you consult with your physician in order to create a program that is safe.
If you are experiencing pain in your neck, or your arms, back, or shoulders, these are all indications that excessive time in front of a computer is having a negative impact.
Other symptoms include discomfort in your wrist, numbness in your fingers, pain in your lower back, or any number of issues with your eyes – including blurring, redness, dryness or associated headaches.
If any of these symptoms apply to you, it is recommended that you review the setup of your workstation in order to make sure that you are not accelerating these issues with an improper setup. It is also important to provide yourself with continual reminders that correct posture while typing and setting is essential.
It will also be beneficial to make sure that you allow yourself frequent breaks throughout each day toward decreasing the chances of encountering any of these unwanted symptoms.
When To Visit A Doctor
If you are experiencing neck pain end it is and the source of discomfort is a muscular strain, then the pain will likely subside within several days. Attending to the neck pain with the use of ice or heat, along with neck muscle stretching exercises can expedite the process of reducing the pain.
However, if neck discomfort continues beyond a short period of time then that is an indication that of an issue beyond muscular strain. At that point, it is recommended that you visit a physician. This is also true if your neck pain is getting becoming more intense, or if it begins to progress down your arms and legs. If you are experiencing numbness, tingling, or a headache, these are also indications of a neck issue. Those problems should also result in a visit to your doctor.
What A Doctor Will Do
When you visit your physician, he or she will ask a series of questions. These are designed to determine the cause of your pain. This process will include inquiring about your medical history, and the history of your family. You will also be asked about the exact location of your discomfort, along with any other aspects of your daily activities that may be the cause of your pain.
Your physician might also order diagnostic testing in order to determine the specifics of your situation. That will also help your doctor construct the best treatment plan to decrease your neck discomfort.
At Orthopedic Associates We Can Help
If you are concerned that time spent on your computer is causing a neck issue, or if you are experiencing any problems with your neck, we encourage you to visit us at Orthopedic Associates. With eight board-certified physicians and two board-eligible physicians in orthopedic specialties, Orthopedic Associates offers a full spectrum of musculoskeletal care, along with in-house physical therapy. state-of-the-art-technology, and an on-site surgical center.
We also encourage you to consult one of our neck and spine doctors if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Hard, knotted muscles in your neck or shoulders
- Decreased range of motion.
- Tightness in the general neck-and-shoulder area
- Stiffness as you go to look over your left or right shoulders
- Headaches originating from the base of your skull and continuing to the front of your forehead.
Our specialists also provide on-call availability, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can treat these additional neck conditions:
- Anatomy of the Spine
- Cervical Radiculopathy
- Compression Fracture of the Spine
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Facet Joint Syndrome
- Herniated Disc(s) (Cervical)
- Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica)
- Metastatic Cancer of the Spine
- Muscle Strain of the Upper Back (Trapezius Strain)
- Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
- Spinal Epidural Abscess
- Spinal Infection
- Spinal Stenosis
- Where Lower Back Pain Begins
- Where Neck Pain Begins
Even if neck pain is not your primary concern, we also offer multiple solutions for a wide range of conditions – both with or without surgery. Visit one of Orthopedic Associates two locations or request an appointment today. We are fully committed to paving the path toward a pain-free life for you.