Is Your Desk Contributing to Your Neck or Back Pain?
Have you tried other treatments but still get neck pain at your desk?
Is sitting still causing back pain?
In this blog, you’ll learn all about the do’s and dont’s about your desk and posture, what causes your neck and back pain, and what is the best way to treat it!
If you spend a large portion of time behind a desk, you likely have had some kind of back or neck pain at some point. Sometimes it occurs while you work and sometimes not until you are finally trying to relax at home from a long day. Many reasons for this can include the way your desk is set up; the position of your chair, the type of chair, the way objects are placed on the desk will all cause you to sit a certain way that may not be optimal.
Possible Contributors to Your Neck and Back Pain
The picture shown to the right shows proper desk ergonomics. Possible contributors to your neck and back pain include:
- A computer monitor height that is below or above eye level or is to the left or right of your midline
- The keyboard and screen are too far away
- Reading material is too far or causes you to hold your neck up/down/side for too long
- Seat height is to low or too high
- Feet not flat and supported
- Poor seat cushioning
- Improper seat back angle
These causes then may affect these finding that will cause your neck and back pain :
- Rounded Shoulders/Forward head posture: this will cause strain to the neck and possibly pinch structures that may send symtoms down your arms
- “Tight” Hips: this may make it more difficult to lie down, run or walk due to decreased range of motion in the hip. These restriction in your hip or pelvis may then cause other issues in your back.
- Excessive rounding in your midback or low back that puts excessive strain on passive structures.
Overtime, you may start to notice pain, “tightness”, discomfort, weakness, etc. In addition, you may have a muscle imbalance or poor mobility that is only making sitting at a work station that much more uncomfortable or painful. Because of the effects of sitting for extended periods of time (especially in a poor position), you want to have strategies to find the problem, fix the problem and prevent issues from happening again.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Treat Your Neck and Back Pain at Your Desk
A Physical Therapist can help identify possible work station issues and its contributing factors to your pain. It’s a great idea to even take a picture and show your desk set up to your Physical Therapist! Further, to address your current issues and establish preventative measures, your physical therapist will evaluate the problem areas causing your pain by assessing:
- Tight or restricted tissues
- Range of Motion (especially the spine, hips and shoulders)
- Muscle strength (focusing on those muscles that help maintain proper shoulder, hip and spinal alignment)
- Your work requirements that contribute to your pain
- The compensatory strategies that may have developed
Next your physical therapist will use various methods to treat your pain; these can include manual therapy techniques, strengthening exercises and flexiblity/mobility exercises. Your Physical Therapist will also give you the knowledge and the tools for you to prevent these issues from reoccuring.
This is what our patients are saying about our treatment approach
“I have found Dr Ron Miller to be an outstanding professional. I have had hip pain for over a year and I self diagnosed it as “sciatica” and felt nothing could be done about it. Dr Miller examined me and said I did not have true sciatica but had a very “tight” muscle pushing against the sciatic nerve in certain circumstances. After a few weeks of treatment I know have no pain. I can sleep through the night without waking up in severe pain in my hip and I am able to play golf without any hip pain. I would highly recommend Dr. Ron Miller”
If you are dealing with annoying neck or back pain from your desk or at work call now at 407-494-8835 and get pain free today!
By Kathleen Palmer, ACSM-CPT, SPT
Doctoral Physical Therapy Student
University of Central Florida