Desk Work Can Be A Pain in the Neck

calendar June 18, 2020
working from home on a laptop

Today’s work environment, whether in the office or at home, usually involves a significant amount of time sitting at a desk and computer.  While sitting at a computer can be an efficient way to get work completed, it can also lead to problems in your spine, particularly the neck.

Last time I checked, the force of gravity is still pretty consistent on all of us.  We get fatigued and then adopt the most comfortable position we can find.  Prolonged sitting, especially in forward or “Slouched” posture, can lead to significant physical problems.  This posture can be described as “Forward Head and Rounded Shoulders”.  You know this position because you’ve probably been there thousands of times.  The problem is, this is an unbalanced posture which can lead to a variety of physical problems including:

  • Compression of the Discs in between the Vertebrae in your Neck
  • Compression of the Joints in the Back Part of the Neck,
  • Excessive Strain on the Muscles in the Upper and Lower part of your Neck
  • Weakness in the Muscles in the Front of your Neck
  • Trigger Points or Muscle Spasms in any of these Muscles
  • Stiffness and Reduced Range of Motion in your Neck
  • Headaches or even Pain Radiating to the Shoulders or Arms

The good news is this condition can easily be treated!  Physical Therapists at Empower Physical Therapy are experts at providing relief of the pain from these compression and strain injuries related to posture.  We use a variety of hands-on treatment techniques and exercises for stretching, strengthening and re-training for proper postural positioning in sitting, standing and even sleeping.

If you sit at a desk or computer as part of your work or personal life, here are a few tips to start repairing your posture:

  • Get up and walk!  Walking and moving around every 20 minutes helps to re-set posture and get the blood flowing in your muscles.  Stretching during this time really helps as well.
  • Feet flat on the floor.  Having both feet on the floor while sitting provides a more stable base and sets up your whole spine to be in better alignment.  Adjust your chair if needed.
  • Sit back!  Keeping your lower back against the lumbar support is a great start.  Keeping your shoulder blades back against your chair is the next step.  Keeping your head on top of your shoulders instead of out front is the icing on the cake.
  • Head and Eyes Level.  Keeping your computer monitor up near eye level helps keep your head in optimal position to prevent the neck pain and headaches so common with poor posture.  Adjust your work station if needed.
  • Stomach Muscles in!  Pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your lumbar spine and holding them there creates a tight core and helps form the base of a great pyramid.
  • Train for your job.  Doing specific exercises for building flexibility, stability and endurance will make you more than ready to tackle your desk work without injury.

If you have aches and pains related to time spent at a desk or computer, why not set up an appointment to see an Empower Physical Therapist and get rid of it for good!  Go to or call 1-833-861-6161.

Posted by

Matt Figueroa PT, DPT, Chief Clinical Officer