Work Related Neck Pain

work related neck painWork related neck pain is becoming more common these days with more of our jobs becoming computer-based. If most of your day is spent at a computer, pay attention to how you are sitting.

Are you sitting with your shoulders slumped and your head extended toward your computer monitor? And are you in that position for long periods of time? Better watch out- you may soon be on the hunt for some neck pain relief.

Jobs High Risk for Work Related Neck Pain

The research indicates that women in general are at high risk for work related neck pain. Many women with neck pain develop chronic neck pain which is pain lasting more than a month. The most common affliction is called trapezius myalgia, which is a chronic muscular pain and tightness that extends down the back of the neck and moves out toward the shoulders.

Jobs that may lead to chronic neck pain are those that require repetitive work, typically at computer keyboards. These jobs are primarily in administrative offices, post offices, and banks. In these positions, there is overuse and misuse of the neck and shoulder muscles.

Treatment of Work Related Neck Pain

The usual treatments for chronic neck pain include massage, chiropractic treatment, medications, electrical nerve stimulation and exercises of various kinds. The response to these treatments varies and is somewhat inconsistent. As a result, there has been a lot of research into neck pain treatment. And the evidence is building on the effectiveness of neck strengthening exercises.

Neck Pain Relief With Strengthening Exercises

At the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Danish scientists completed a study to determine the most effective treatment for women suffering from the work related neck pain caused by trapezius myalgia. Study participants were assigned one of these three treatments:

  • Strength training focusing on the neck and shoulder muscles
  • General fitness training in the form of riding an exercise bike without holding on to the handlebars
  • Health counseling

The two groups that exercised did so three times a week for 20 minutes each and for a total of 10 weeks.

The results? The group receiving the strength training had, on average, a 75% reduction in the pain they felt during the study period and for 10 weeks following the study. The women receiving the general fitness training had slight improvements. The group receiving the health counseling reported no improvements in their work related neck pain.

If you are suffering from chronic work related neck pain, or if you at a risk for it, you may want to check with your doctor about seeing a physical therapist for training in neck-strengthening exercises.

Jobs High Risk for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Jobs High Risk for Neck and Shoulder PainEven to this day the impact of neck and shoulder pain continues to be astounding. Many jobs have placed workers at a greater risk for this condition. You may be surprised on how broad the list of high risk jobs is going to be. If you are just one of those suffering from a work-related neck or shoulder injury, you know how the pain affects your job performance.

A Risky Path to Take

To know what jobs are at risk, work-safety and health professionals have investigated certain occupational factors, especially the work environment. It has been known that too much physical work, heavy lifting, non-stop bending and twisting, bad work posture and sitting or standing for a long period of time places these workers at risk for having neck and shoulder pain.

Two occupations for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Two occupations at the top of the list are construction workers and nurses. People having these two career paths have a greater possibility to experience work-related injuries, specifically pain in the neck or shoulder regions.

Sadly, workers don’t place a priority on how they can prevent this condition from affecting them since they dread that they will lose the job. As a result, they typically don’t take breaks and time off.

Do You Belong to Any of These Careers?

  • Nurses and Nursing Home Caregivers

As the elderly population begins to rise, there have been a growing number of nursing homes and job prospects for nurses. Nursing home caregivers and nurses are at risk not only for back pain but for neck and shoulder pain as well, resulting from transferring, lifting, carrying, and turning patients.

  • Construction Workers

People who work at construction sites spend most of their time doing repeated bending, carrying and pulling. These repetitive activities can result in neck injuries where pain in the neck area is common. According to research, almost 30% of workers missed their jobs because of neck strain. 

  • Surgeons and Dentists

These medical professions require long hours of standing, bending and uncomfortable body positioning. The work of surgeons and dentists is not only physically taxing but it can be mentally stressful, diverting their awareness away from bad body posture that results in neck pain or shoulder pain. 

  • Retail Workers

Store and grocery employees are required to stand in one place for 8 hours or more. Lifting heavy grocery bags can cause neck or shoulder pain when poor body mechanics are used. 

These are just some of the careers at risk for neck and shoulder injuries.  

The following are basic ergonomics steps for people at risk for job-related neck or shoulder pain. 

Ergonomic Tips for Workers Who Stand for Long Hours

For retail workers or store personnel, the following tips may be helpful in preventing neck pain at work.

  • Stand straight. Keeping your body in a neutral and proper alignment.
  • Stretch often and change position regularly. 

Ergonomic Tips for Workers Whose Job Requires Lifting

  • When lifting, bend your knees, not your back.
  • Keep your body aligned and not twisted when lifting.
  • Stretch your neck, back and arms often.
  • Stand up and walk for a minute or two every hour. 

Ergonomic Techniques to Avoid Neck and Shoulder Pain

You may not be able to change your career, but there are ergonomic techniques that you can take to avoid neck and shoulder pain from affecting you and your job.  

If you begin to suffer job-related neck or shoulder pain, report it and seek medical help early.

Is Your Job Causing Your Neck Tension?

Is Your Job Causing your Neck TensionNeck tension associated with work is one of the most common complaints of office workers. The pain is felt from the base of the skull and radiates down to the neck and shoulders causing discomfort. There are a number of possibilities why this symptom is possibly related to your career or occupation.

With today’s great technological progress in computers, more companies shift from industrial to service oriented companies. With the use of computers, this results to cutting down of employees which leads not only to an increase in production but also an increase in the number of workers experiencing pain in the neck area.

Causes of Work-Related Neck Tension

It is a fact that computers make our life easier. In offices, computers almost do all the tasks but it minimizes the need for physical activity from the employees since they will no longer need to get up, leave their desks and receive or file documents. This will not give them the opportunity to relax and stretch to avoid their muscles from being strained and tensed which can cause neck tension.

Neck injury also happens when you are doing too much work. Certainly, it is most common in jobs requiring manual labor and in a wide range of blue collar jobs. Workers can experience pain from recurring stress injuries or because of an increased disintegration of muscles and tissues due to years of hard labor. All of these causes may lead to neck tension and neck injuries.

Another possible cause is stress. Mental stress is surely the top stressor experienced by office workers. They are placed in a situation where they need to do a lot of work in a limited span of time. With these, they can get stressed out which can make their neck muscles tense.

Risk of Developing Neck Tension 

According to research, there is twice the chance of neck tension occurring in people who sit for long periods of time.

The improper posture in using a computer, the kind of computer device, the duration of their break time and the position of their computers could all contribute to the development of this condition.

Poor posture is common in people who use notebook computers since there is increased neck flexion causing more discomfort. This is because people are working with their head flexed forward for long hours.

Neck tension experienced by office workers can lead into chronic pain when not treated. Subsequently, these chronic pain sufferers end up spending substantial amounts of money and time searching for relief, but to no avail. To save you from this frustration, here are some simple tips you can do on the job to minimize your risk of developing pain in your neck.

  • Keep active.

A sedentary lifestyle increases your chance of developing pain not only in the neck but just about anywhere. Keep those joints moving, be physically active. Do activities that would help your muscles relax.  Walk often and stretch a lot.

  • Think “ergonomics”.

Position your computer station to maximize use of the correct body posture. Further reduce neck flexion by having your chair and work table at the right height for you.

  • Sit up straight!

Maintain a sitting position that keeps your neck aligned in the neutral position.  Keep your head level and place your work in front of you so you can look straight ahead.

  • Stretch often.

Stretch your neck, back and shoulders from time to time to prevent your muscles from stiffening up.

While these prevention techniques may sound too simple, they are very effective in preventing your job from giving you pain and neck tension.