Is Your Job a Pain in the Neck?

neck strainThis article features one of our clients, PhysioDC, a physical therapy rehabilitation clinic located in Washington, D.C. Visit them online at or call them at (202) 223-8500.

Even as back-breaking labor loses its popularity among Westerners, those of us who work in “cushy” offices can easily become lax about the physical dangers posed by seemingly innocuous tools of our trades. From laptops  and keyboards to office chairs, the many ergonomic hazards in our daily lives are far from obvious.

Even if your work is not what’s often referred to as “physical labor,” it can cause both back pain and neck strain. The list of the top 10 causes of neck strain include several that are directly connected to the kind of work environments which most white-collar professionals typically have.

computer workPoor Lighting

It’s an automatic response to a lack of ambient light: We crane our necks forward. We do it while watching TV, enjoying a live performance, or working at our computers. Obviously, the latter is the only one we usually do in a work environment, but the combined effect of the same craning during work hours and relaxation can cause increased neck strain.

Wearing Bifocals

For those who get to wear contact lenses, this is another reason to be thankful! Those needing to wear glasses often “graduate” to bifocal or trifocal lenses as they, um, mature. The need to look through the bottom portion to see objects that are close but through the top portion for normal vision often invites bifocal wearers to tilt their heads back in order to look through the bottom portion when they’re reading.

Poorly Positioned Work Stations

neck crampFor those who sit at desks all day, the arrangement of the work station is key to a pain-free posture. Having to turn your head to one side to see your monitor will eventually become a literal pain in the neck. If you make sure that anything you have to look at regularly is as close to the middle of your view as possible, you’ll significantly lessen the chances of neck strain.

Reading, Working, or Watching Videos in Bed

We all do it once in a while, but repeatedly looking at a screen, a book, or just about anything, while in a lying-down position, can wreak havoc on your neck. The tendency is to prop your head up to see the screen or the page, causing the neck to flex forward, rotate awkwardly, or bend to the side. Holding any of those positions repeatedly for an extended time period will be sure to cause you pain.

Other scenarios that made the list include head banging, swishing your hair (as if to keep your bangs out of your face and off to one side), performing headstands, falling asleep drunk, and attempting various gym exercises. Whether you’re in the office or enjoying some time away, you’ll want to make sure you’re avoiding these situations that can strain your neck.

PhysioDC of Washington, D.C.

Daniel Baumstark and his professional team of physical therapists operate a boutique physical therapy office in downtown Washington, D.C. From athletes to government officials, and from ballerinas to corporate executives, PhysioDC helps people recover, strengthen and return to healthy living. Visit their website at or call them at 202-223-8500.

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