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.