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A Pain in the Neck!

03 April 2023

Do you ever feel like your neck is in knots after a long day at work? Do you experience recurring headaches or muscle tension that just won't go away?

The mental and emotional strain of chronic neck pain can be overwhelming. Sadly, many of us accept this as an inevitable side effect of the modern workplace. However, it doesn't have to be this way!

Preventing and alleviating neck pain can significantly improve your quality of life. Let's explore the causes of workplace-related neck pain, how to prevent it, and ways to find relief when it strikes. So grab your ergonomic chair and get ready for an in-depth look at one of the most common – yet overlooked – sources of discomfort: Neck pain!



It's All in the Spine

We cannot discuss neck pain without talking about the spine. The spine is a complex structure of 24 small vertebrae that form the spinal column, protecting your spinal cord and providing essential support for your body. The cervical spine, aka neck, is made up of seven vertebrae, known as cervical vertebrae, which are located between the skull (atlas) and the thoracic region.

The first two cervical vertebrae are C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis). This area, known as the upper cervical region, is especially important because it's responsible for maintaining balance in the rest of the spine. In fact, if you had to pick one part of your spine most vulnerable to pain or injury, it would be this area!

Caring for your neck is vital for good spine health—it ensures that the muscles in this area remain strong, flexible, and well-nourished to support your head and body better. When our neck is in good health, we can move freely and without pain or discomfort. But when something goes wrong with your cervical vertebrae, it can result in serious neck pain.



The Office Grind: What Causes Neck Pain at Work?

Many factors contribute to neck pain at work, but the following are a few of the most common culprits:

Poor Posture

Poor posture is probably the most common cause of neck pain in the workplace. Slouching or hunching over our desks, staring at a computer screen all day, and not taking regular breaks can all lead to neck pain.

Sitting for long periods with poor posture will cause your muscles to strain and become tense. This pressure on the spine can lead to headaches, shoulder pain, and even numbness

Incorrect Furniture

The furniture we use is often to blame for neck pain in the workplace. An uncomfortable chair without lumbar support, a desk that's too low or too high, or a keyboard tray at the right height can all contribute to neck pain.

If your body is not well supported by the furniture you use, it can lead to muscle tension and pain. Finding the right combination of furniture—a comfortable chair, an ergonomically designed desk, and adjustable keyboard trays—can help prevent neck pain in the office.

Too Much Screen Time

Okay, who isn't guilty of this? It seems like everyone spends a significant portion of their day staring at screens—think computers, phones, and tablets.

It doesn't matter if you are a baby watching nursery rhymes, a student writing a project report, an executive working at your workstation, or a retiree keeping up-to-date with the news; chances are you will be doing it on a screen. People of all ages seem to be glued to their screens for hours.

Unfortunately, prolonged screen time can lead to neck pain due to the strain it puts on your eyes and neck muscles. Staring at a screen for extended periods can cause your neck muscles to tighten and become sore, leading to headaches and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Stress

Stress is a major contributor to neck pain. When we're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, this can manifest as physical tension in our shoulders and neck that leads to discomfort. Stress can cause our muscles to tighten up without us even realizing it. When our neck muscles are tightened up for long periods, it can cause fatigue and lead to chronic neck pain.

Repetitive Movements

If your job requires repeating the same motions over and over again—typing on a keyboard, lifting heavy items, or working on an assembly line—this can lead to neck strain due to muscle fatigue. To combat this type of injury, taking regular breaks and incorporating some stretching into your daily routine is important.



Prevention is the Best Cure

The best way to counter neck pain is not to let it happen in the first place. Here are a few tips for keeping your neck healthy and pain-free.

Practice Proper Posture

Many of us are not even aware of our posture. We slump in our chairs, bent over our computers, and don't even realize that this poor posture is putting strain on our necks.

Start by sitting up straight with your back against the chair, use lumbar support if necessary, keep your head level and centered above your shoulders, and tuck in your chin slightly (no double chins!)

Take Regular Breaks

It's important to take regular breaks throughout the day and get up from your desk to move around. Taking a quick walk, stretching your arms and legs, or standing up for a few minutes are great ways to give your body a break and avoid muscle strain.

Adjust Furniture

If you find yourself straining to use your computer or perform other tasks at work, then it's time to adjust the height of your furniture. Switching out the chair, raising or lowering the desk, and ensuring the keyboard is at an appropriate height can make a huge difference in neck pain prevention.

Invest in Ergonomic Equipment

Ergonomically designed desks and chairs are worth investing in if you want to keep your neck healthy and avoid pain. These pieces of furniture provide support for our bodies and help us stay comfortable while we work.

For instance, ergonomic chairs come with headrests to ensure your neck and head remain well-supported. Similarly, ergonomic desks come with height adjustment and let you place your office equipment at the correct level.

Pay Attention to Your Body

Finally, it's important to pay attention to your body and how it reacts to your activities. If you feel any pain or discomfort in your neck, then take a break, adjust your posture, and ensure that you are doing all the things mentioned above to keep your neck healthy.



But Not All is Lost - The Remedies

If you were not aware of the preventive measures outlined above, and neck pain has already taken hold of you, don't worry because there are a few remedies that can help.

Stretch and Strengthen

Stretching and strengthening the neck muscles is key to relieving pain. Stretches like shoulder rolls, neck rotations, and chin tucks can help release tension from your neck muscles. Additionally, you can use light weights or resistance bands to build strength in the neck area, which will help support it during daily activities.

Hot/Cold Compresses

A hot compress or an ice pack on the affected area can provide much-needed pain relief. The heat helps relax tight muscles, while cold offers temporary numbing of the sore area. Both of these methods are effective at reducing inflammation associated with neck pain.

Massage Therapy

Massage can also help alleviate neck pain by targeting the tight muscles causing discomfort. Massage therapists use techniques such as kneading and tapping to relax the neck muscles, which helps reduce muscle tension and inflammation.

Acupuncture

If you are brave enough to handle it, acupuncture is another popular option for treating neck pain. Acupuncturists insert needles into specific points of the neck and back to target areas where the pain is present. The needles stimulate nerve endings, releasing hormones that help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists can also help reduce neck pain with exercises and stretches. They will assess your condition, take measurements of your range of motion, and develop a specific program to help you improve mobility and manage pain.

OTC Medication

Over-the-counter pain relief medications are a good option for those who suffer from mild to moderate neck pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Prescription Medication

For more severe cases of neck pain, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications, such as oral corticosteroids or muscle relaxants. These medications can help reduce inflammation and provide more targeted pain relief.



Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7

One of the key factors in preventing neck pain is to keep your monitors at eye level. There is no better way to do that than using a height-adjustable desk or a desk converter.

If you are looking for a top-quality desk converter, the Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 is an excellent option. This model is made from durable materials and can support up to 44 pounds.

The Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 has many features that make it an excellent choice for a desk converter. These include:

A built-in motor allows you to adjust the height of the converter with the push of a button. It can be adjusted at any height between 5.7 and 19.7 inches.

Excellent Stability thanks to the sturdy bracing system and X-lift structure that ensures the EM7 remains stable even when lowering or raising at full capacity

A spacious desktop that is 36 inches wide and 16.3 inches deep. This gives you plenty of room to work. It can easily hold two 21.5-inch monitors and still have room for more accessories.

The Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 is also designed to be ergonomic, allowing for a comfortable sitting position while using the laptop. The design of the EM7 also allows for effortless height adjustments, so you can change your setup quickly if needed.

Final Thoughts

Neck pain can be a real nuisance, but there are many options available to help alleviate the discomfort. It is essential to take care of your neck and maintain good posture to keep it healthy. You should consult a medical professional for advice and treatment options if discomfort persists.

In addition to the treatments discussed above, consider investing in an ergonomic product like the Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7. This desk converter is designed to keep your monitors at eye level while providing excellent stability, making it an ideal choice for those who suffer from neck pain.