How can using a computer lead to neck and back pain?
These days, computer use is almost mandatory. Many jobs involve using a computer for eight hours a day or more, and the proliferation of news, communication and entertainment options available on the Internet means that countless people also use computers at home for hours on end. For most of us, computer use is a way of life.
The popularity of computers has also contributed to an epidemic of poor posture, causing more and more people to experience conditions such as degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, radiculopathy, sciatica and many others that can cause neck and back pain.
Ways to avoid back pain stemming from computer use
For many people, simply giving up their computers is not an option. However, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize your risk of back pain and injury stemming from computer use:
- Maintain proper posture. Good posture is your first defense against developing herniated discs, pinched nerves and other spinal conditions. Make sure that your workspace is configured to allow you to sit straight, with your head level and your feet flat on the floor. This may involve raising your monitor to eye-level, and finding an ergonomic chair that adjusts to various heights and degrees of recline. Some offices may even have an ergonomics specialist on hand to help you determine ways to improve your posture while at work.
- Take frequent breaks. The human body isn’t designed to sit in one place for long stretches of time. If you continuously work at a computer, your posture will almost inevitably suffer. When that happens, you’ll be at increased risk of developing back pain. Try to get in the habit of standing up and walking away from your computer for at least 10 minutes every hour. Not only will your back thank you, but your eyes will, too.
- Perform simple exercises to alleviate stress. Sitting still in front of a computer often puts stress on your neck and back muscles. During your breaks, try to incorporate stretches and other simple exercises to keep these muscles relaxed and limber.
Neck and back pain caused by computer use can often be resolved using conservative treatments such as pain medication, heat/cold therapy and gentle stretching. If conservative treatments do not help your spine condition after several weeks or months, however, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive spine surgeries may be able to help you find relief from neck and back pain. We also offer a free MRI review* to determine whether you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.