Technological developments make our lives easier, but also bring different problems into our lives. We can do many of our jobs more easily and without much effort, but we are evolving into a more sedentary life. Today we will consider neck pain, which is more common in office workers.
There are 33 vertebrae in our body. 7 of them are tall. It works as a whole with the neck region, cervical vertebrae, intervertebral discs, joints, ligaments and neck region muscle structures and has versatile mobility.
Neck pain can be seen at any age, one out of every three people will experience neck pain at least once in their life. Neck pain is 3 times more common than low back pain. Neck pain usually starts slowly. It is suppressed in daily life and business life. Typically, patients with neck pain develop pain tolerance and present to a physician later than those with low back pain. The deterioration of ergonomic conditions in the workplace and continuous unidirectional loading play an important role.
Neck pain can occur due to different reasons. It is more common in employees. It is mostly caused by muscle and soft tissue due to improper use of the body and bad posture. Some of these are due to postural disorders such as spending a lot of time with the computer and phone, leaning forward, staying in a fixed position for a long time; some develop after a more serious underlying medical condition. Monotonous work life and job dissatisfaction also cause chronic pain.
The neck vertebrae normally form a slight C-shaped curve. For some reason this takes a straight shape, this is called neck straightening and the main reason for this is posture disorder. Working at a desk all the time, being immobile during the day, unsuitable sleeping positions, long-term wrong posture and standing still during professional practices are among the reasons. Disc degeneration in advanced ages may be due to lifestyle, various sports activities, traumas.
In addition, neck pain is due to traumatic strains, spondylosis (calcification), structural disorders. It can be caused by neck hernia and nerve root compression, neurological diseases, inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, compression caused by tumors, and reflected pain of internal organ pathologies. Myofascial pains and fibromyalgia are among the causes of neck pain. Shoulder pain may also be reflected to the neck, and should be considered in the differential diagnosis.
Usually blunt and pressure-like, sometimes burning pain is felt. In most of the patients, it starts insidiously and gradually the pain increases. There is limitation of movement in the neck, stiffness, pain and sensitivity to touch. Pain may radiate to the head, chest, back, and arm. Numbness, tingling, weakness, headache, dizziness, tinnitus may occur. Daily activities such as dressing, undressing and driving become more difficult.
The diagnosis is made as a result of detailed examinations and tests, and the appropriate treatment for the diagnosis is selected. In the treatment of muscle tone and posture disorders, calcifications, neck hernia, myofascial neck pain, rest, hot or cold pack applications, analgesic and NSAID, myorelaxant drug treatment are started. Physical therapy applications such as low frequency currents, superficial and deep heat application, traction and massage are used. Kinesiobant applications, soft tissue injections are used in the treatment. In rehabilitation, posture is corrected by providing muscle tone and neck range of motion with exercise treatments. Daily life activities are organized by considering ergonomic conditions. Using a monitor and keyboard at a suitable level while working, sitting in the right posture and upright in the chair, correct lying position while sleeping and using pillows that support the neck can reduce pain.
It is important to consult a doctor in the early period before neck pain and stiffness become chronic and impair quality of life.
Dr. Filiz GENGOR
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Specialist
Tınaztepe Galen Hospital