Steps to take at work to protect the neck vertebrae

The cervical spine (neck) can be prone to developing spine conditions, like a pinched nerve, especially if you are not practicing good posture. Long hours spent hunched over a computer keyboard every day at work can wreak havoc on the health of your neck vertebrae.

Even if you are one of millions of employees whose jobs require sitting for long hours at a workstation, there are steps you can take to protect the cervical vertebrae from developing a potentially painful spine condition.

Loosen up

The neck vertebrae are among the most flexible within the spine. This flexibility allows for a wide range of head movement, but it also places stress on the discs in the neck — especially when the cervical vertebrae are pressing against the discs from hours of poor posture. This can happen when you become engrossed in a project at work. Who hasn’t felt that twinge at the base of the neck after a few hours spent staring at the computer screen?

Here are a few ideas to help keep the neck muscles loose and relaxed and vertebrae correctly aligned at work:

  • Take minibreaks — Stand up from your desk and move around for a minute or two at least once an hour.
  • Use a hands-free phone — Ask for a headset to use with your phone, rather than bending your neck to hold the handset against your shoulder.
  • Sit in a comfortable chair — Make sure your chair has adequate support for your neck and lower back.
  • Practice proper posture — Don’t hunch over the computer keyboard; hold the spine and head straight, but not rigidly.
  • Exercise — Between minibreaks, turn your head back and forth, stretch your arms above your head, and shrug your shoulders to keep the neck muscles from becoming tight.

When pain persists in the neck vertebrae

If the neck pain you feel at work and elsewhere turns out to be more than momentary muscle tightness, visit your physician to talk about the possible cause of your pain. Your physician can perform a physical examination or order imaging tests to determine whether or not you have a spine condition.

While many patients are able to find pain relief from spine conditions through pain medication and physical therapy, as well as other conservative treatments, some physicians may recommend spine surgery if the symptoms are worsening.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive cervical decompression and stabilization procedures that remove pressure from the pinched nerve without disrupting the muscles surrounding the spine. This allows our patients to have a shorter recovery time^ as well as a safer and effective procedure compared to traditional open neck surgery.

For more information about how our minimally invasive cervical spine surgery can help treat your neck pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today.