Prolonged use of a computer keyboard, mouse, and/or laptop can lead to nagging muscle aches and pains over time. Along with that, nerves can become compressed and irritated. When that happens, radiating pain may be felt down the arm into the fingers or down the leg into the toes. It’s important to note that these aches and pains don’t suddenly develop overnight. They are the result of sustained postures and positions repeated for weeks, months, or even years!
There are a variety of reasons cervicogenic headaches arise. They can begin shortly after some traumatic event such as a fall or following a whiplash injury like a car accident. However, more commonly these headaches develop over time from repetitive neck movements, prolonged poor posture, decreased cervical muscle strength, or osteoarthritis. The workplace is a major contributor, especially with jobs that require sitting at a desk or computer, frequent heavy lifting, or repetitive head movements.
Over the years there’s been a rise in desk work-related jobs along with more time spent on cell phones and other mobile devices. Sitting for long periods at a time or frequently looking down at our cell phones can lead to issues in the shoulder, neck, and back as time goes on. One example of this is Tech Neck, which I’m sure you’ve heard of! Most often these issues arise from repetitive postures and positions we develop over months to years rather than something that may have happened yesterday or two days ago.
The average human head weighs about 8 pounds. Each day we all walk around with a bowling ball (our head) balancing on a toothpick (our neck). We are designed this way to allow for the full range of motion we all know and love. Even under the best circumstances, this places a lot of stress on our spine. But leaning forward even just 15 degrees pushes that weight up to 30 pounds, and with a 30 degree tilt its closer to 40 pounds!
Although there are over 150 classifications of headaches, most of those classifications will fall under tension related headaches. While tension headaches have many causative factors, the symptoms present very similar. Symptoms of a tension headache will include pain around the head and/or neck and may have associated neck muscle tightness. The pain will often be described as a dull or achy pain that may get worse as the day goes on. A tension headache will respond very well to manual therapy, but here a few other things to consider on your own. Continue reading “Self-Management for Headaches” »
It’s no secret that sitting too much can cause musculoskeletal problems or aggravate existing ones. Prolonged sitting causes stretching of our joint’s passive stabilizers, which are ligaments. The job of our ligaments are to support our joints, but when those ligaments begin to lengthen and stretch for an extended period of time, symptoms will develop. It has been shown that it can take several hours for your joints to recover and for normal tissue properties to be restored. Although quality chairs and supports may help, taking microbreaks from sitting are necessary. Continue reading “Sitting Too Much? Take a Microbreak” »