Experiencing neck pain is unpleasant, to say the least, to have to endure especially if experiencing it for long periods of time throughout the day. Your neck is one of the most sensitive areas of the body, responsible for holding up the bottom of y
our skull and providing the brain with nutrients. Spending countless hours in front of a computer everyday is going to change your body and unfortunately there is not much you can do to avoid sitting for extended periods of time especially if it is part of your job description. Your front neck muscles are slowly growing shorter and tighter, while the muscles in the back of your neck are growing longer and weaker. Not to mention it must not be an easy task to hold up a ten pound head for hours at a time. From prior experience, I know what it feels like to have pain in your neck all throughout the day and how much harder it makes it to work under that kind of condition. But what I did not realize is that your office chair can actually be the reason why people experience neck pain.
The spine requires essential movement throughout the day, unfortunately for most workers that are confined to sitting in an office chair all day this seems to be nearly impossible. This is even more the case when workers are using standard office chairs and office furniture which leaves the body confined during the day, and puts high pressure loadings on the spine. Chairs that have stiff backs meaning that they do not have back and height adjustments, restrict the body and do not conform to your body which can lead to back pain as well.
It is estimated that each year, 11 million days of absence from work occur due to neck pain. This medical condition costs industries upwards of $5 billion per year. 800,000 hospital in-patients and 12 million consultations are needed for neck pain every year. In most of the cases, the main culprit was extensive sitting in a poorly designed chair. Research in cellular biology has shown that the cartilage cells of our intervertebral discs undergo intense pressure and are therefore unable to receive nourishment from normal blood supply due to immobility. The discs will gradually lose and may lead to acute neck pain, if this much needed movement ceases to happen. In worst cases scenarios, this turned out to be fatal or even caused temporary mobility.
In a study published in the European Spine Journal and conducted by Dr. Julia Hush of the Back Pain Research Group at the University of Sydney, found that 15 to 44% of people suffer pain in any one year, but recent studies suggest that office-workers are at higher risk of neck pain than others. Another interesting finding was that female workers were 3 times more likely to develop neck pain than their male counterparts. Also people who suffered high levels of personal psychological stress were over one and a half more times likely to suffer neck pain than others.
While the most extreme cases of neck pain may have to be seen by a chiropractor in order to help alleviate the pain, their is one solution that is much simpler and easier to do when you start experiencing neck pain so it does not get any worse. That solution is to purchase a new ergonomic office chair. An ergonomic office chair is a tool that, when used properly, can help one maximize back support and maintain good posture while sitting. However simply owning the ergonomic chair is not enough, it also needs to be adjusted to the proportions of the individual’s body to improve comfort and reduce aggravation to the low back and neck while sitting. An ergonomic chair that has a headrest can also greatly improve your neck comfort. With proper posture and a better ergonomic chair that will be able to adjust to the user’s body, your neck will certainly have reduced pain and work will be less painful all together.