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Neck Pain Emerging Complaints

Neck Pain-Emerging Complaints

by Rob Tworek

A recent conversation with Jim, a male client at a physical therapy office:

Jim: “The muscle strain in my leg is doing much better.”

RT: “You should be able to return to playing racquetball this weekend. But take it easy. Ease back into the game so we don’t re-injure that muscle.”

Jim: “I can’t wait to play again. Incidentally, do you have anything I could do for soreness in my neck?”

RT: “Yeah, I could show you a few stretches. It’s easy stuff. Try them over the weekend. And if they don’t help make an appointment with your doctor, get a prescription and we’ll evaluate and treat your neck pain.”

Jim: “Hey, I can feel these stretches pulling on the sore areas. I’ll try them over the weekend. How often?”

RT: Try once or twice each day until your next visit on Monday. Say, you said you work at a computer all day, didn’t you?”

Jim: “Yeah, as a programmer.

RT: ”How many hours per week?”

Jim: “About forty-five to fifty.”

RT: “Anyone else complaining about neck soreness where you work?”

Jim: “Yes, all of them.”

RT: “And how many people is that?”

Jim: “About sixty.”

RT: “My, my, my. Somebody needs to look into this.”

I came to this conclusion after similar conversations with teachers, lawyers, administrative assistants and customer service representatives, just to name a few. Happily, on Monday Jim reported that the soreness had gone, and that he was going to use these stretches as a preventative measure during his work day.

Looking into research on the matter I found that between 15% and 30% of those working in an office setting had neck injury requiring medical intervention. My own inquiries revealed higher numbers of people battling with intermittent neck pain, soreness and stiffness from extended time at a computer.

These are healthy individuals, for the most part, who may mention their neck shoulder pain complaint during a routine checkup at the doctor’s office. In many cases they have resigned themselves to the fact that neck soreness is part of their work situation and is something they have to live with. In an attempt to eliminate soreness they have used over-the-counter pain medications, topical creams, hot showers, or just sitting and waiting for the soreness to go away. Often their neck complaints escalate to the point that they need to see a doctor and have four or more weeks of physical therapy treatments.

But a few simple preventative techniques can be used in the work setting to avoid neck back pain or provide neck pain relief from office activities. The goal is not only to prevent injury but to avoid turning it into a chronic neck pain condition. My clients have these techniques as part of their home exercise plan and use them as needed.

Although people are busy today, few are active enough to help maintain muscle tone. These tired and busy office workers and managers have to fit in an exercise regime in addition to their other activities.

I have seen active and sedentary people needing prevention. Even active individuals with proper muscle tone need to add appropriate stretching to their daily routine to quell their neck soreness.

A healthy routine should consist of at least 30 minutes of activity per day. This activity can be split up into 10 minute bouts at opportune times throughout the day. Add more on less busy days and as you are able. Stretches and movement activities can be performed proactively before prolonged activities at your desk or computer. They are also helpful during time spent at your computer, and after to reduce the after-effects of prolonged sitting.

Keywords: neck shoulder pain, chronic neck pain, neck back pain, neck pain relief, neck pain.

About the Author: Rob Tworek, a Physical Therapist (Physiotherapist) providing prevention information to those individuals who work in an office setting, at a desk/computer.

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