We spend a large majority of our time each day at our job. When that job involves sitting at a desk, which is does for nearly 90% of Americans, we may easily forget that there are aspects of the movement that may put us at risk for cervical injury. Here, we touch on just two of them.
When at work, there is often this mentality that we should lean in. Lean into the task at hand. Lean into finding solutions to unexpected problems. What else we lean into, quite literally, is the computer screen. According to a Belgium, study conducted several years ago, long hours of sitting directly correlate to neck pain. Researchers from Ghent University Hospital also concluded:
- The risk of developing neck pain from workplace ergonomics increases by more than 2.5 times in individuals age 30 and older.
- Women were two-timed as likely to develop neck pain than their male colleagues.
- Bending the head forward (much like we do when using a smartphone or other electronic device), especially when the repetitive motion was also present, was a clear risk for neck pain.
- Productivity was adversely affected among study participants who sat for long periods.
- Mental fatigue occurred alongside neck pain in many study participants.
- The increased physical activity provided positive benefits to participants experiencing neck pain.
The numbers of a Sedentary Lifestyle
The more we have transitioned into office spaces versus fields and households, the more we have become sedentary. The problem with our standard 9 to 5 lifestyle is that it goes against the very grain of the human body. We are designed for physical movement – a lot of it; think farming, hunting, and gathering. Sitting for prolonged periods is simply unnatural, and it is the neck that suffers the most.
According to one Denmark study performed by Dr. Ariëns and peers, just one year of sedentary work increased instances of neck pain by as much as 40%. This study, like the Belgium study, found that women were at a greater risk for discomfort. Researchers also estimated a 70% lifetime prevalence of cervical discomfort, and that this pain carried the implication of a 36% decrease in productivity in the workplace.
Scientists continue to observe the effects of the modern lifestyle on body mechanics and general health. Many of them suggest that a prime way to reduce risk is one of the easiest: get up and move. The longer you sit, the greater your risk of neck pain.
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We would love to see more people avoid the discomfort of improper posture or neck injury. Should chronic pain become an issue, it is our intent to provide friendly, professional care. Call 212-606-1004 for more information on our orthopedic services.