Today’s post comes from Dubai Chiropractor, Ryan Davis, now practicing in DIFC’s Gate Village 2. We are discussing the ins and outs of neck pain in the office worker.
The cost of pain in the workplace is an estimated 1.5 trillion dollars in the US alone. This is not just the cost of healthcare and lost time at work, but also due to the effects of PRESENTEEISM. Presenteeism is the effect of pain on production of employees while at work. Pain and discomfort massively impact the focus and productivity of those that are suffering. Let’s discuss risk factors and what you can do to help yourself.
Some of the proven risk factors for neck pain are as follows:
- 6 hours of computer time per day
- Computer not set up in front of worker
- Reduced neck range of motion
- Stress, Stress, Stress
That’s right women, unfortunately neck pain occurs at higher rate in females than males, but that doesn’t mean you can’t swing the odds in your favor.
These risk factors give us great insight in to what we can do to limit our odds of having neck pain.
1. First of all, if possible we need to spend no more than 5 hours of SEATED time at the computer. This doesn’t mean you have to cut your work day short. A sit/stand workstation will allow you to alternate between sitting and standing to push your total seated time to 5 hours or less.
2. The second variable that you can modify is your computer itself. Making sure that you optimize your set up ergonomically to lower the stress on your neck and shoulders. At the very least you have to position your computer directly in front of you. Having a left or right sided computer set up will often lead to problems.
3. Frequent microbreaks and varying your posture frequently will also serve to lower the accumulated stress through the neck and shoulders. It’s not always about achieving a perfect posture, in fact frequently varying your posture will greatly reduce the overall, accumulated stress through the neck and shoulders.
4. Improving the functionality of your neck by improving your range of motion, and then creating strength and stability will go a long way towards reducing your risk of neck pain. Consistent rolling and stretching strategies over time can help normalize your range of motion. If you already have a full range of motion then strengthening may give you a better ROI.
5. Last but not least you need to have HEALTHY coping strategies for stress, emphasis on healthy. The basic tenets of proper nutrition, enjoyable exercise, and sufficient sleep will always lead the way in terms of stress management. Research has also proven breathing strategies such as “box breathing” to be effective at lowering stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and relaxation).
Remember these are all great steps to prevent neck pain, but if you are already experiencing neck pain you may need a helping hand. It’s no secret that the employees in DIFC are in high stress positions, work long hours in front of their computers, and therefore are at a high risk of neck or back pain. This is exactly why we opened our DIFC clinic, to offer a convenient and effective healthcare option to those that need it the most. We look forward to serving those in need.