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Is Your Job Giving You Neck Pain? Here's How to Relieve It

 Is Your Job Giving You Neck Pain? Here's How to Relieve It

Neck pain can be more than just a nuisance. For many professionals, it’s a constant companion — a byproduct of long hours spent in front of a screen or hunched over a workstation. 

It’s a common issue with severe repercussions for your comfort, productivity, and overall health. If this sounds familiar, you’re certainly not alone, and fortunately, not without options.

As an award-winning, double-board certified orthopedic surgeon, no one knows neck better than Dr. Patrick McNulty. At McNulty Spine in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, he specializes in complex and common spine problems and sees many cases of work-related neck pain. 

What causes work-related neck pain?

Poor posture, repetitive movements, and incorrect ergonomic setups are the main culprits behind work-related neck pain.  In particular, certain jobs strain the neck muscles — think graphic designers, coders, writers, and anyone else tethered to their desks for extended periods.

Jobs that lead to neck pain

From dentists leaning over patients to truck drivers navigating endless highways, many professions set the stage for neck pain. Recognizing the hazards is step one; addressing them is where real change begins.

These jobs top the “pain in your neck” list:

Ironically, 66.7% of spinal surgeons also experience on-the-job neck pain. By understanding your job’s specific challenges, you and your employer can take steps to redesign the workspace and work habits, reducing the risk of work-related neck pain.

Ergonomics at work

Good ergonomics are key to maintaining neck health at work. It’s all about optimizing your workspace —here are some tips:

Proper posture and alignment

Prioritize a neutral body position: ears aligned with shoulders, shoulders over hips, and arms comfortably at your sides.

Chair and desk height

Your chair should support your spinal curves, with your feet resting flat on the floor and knees about level with your hips.

Computer and monitor position

The top of your monitor should be at eye level to avoid tilting your head, putting less strain on your neck.

Ergonomic strategies for non-desk jobs

Even if your job doesn’t tie you to a desk, ergonomics still plays a crucial role in preventing neck pain. Each profession presents unique challenges, but the underlying principle remains: aligning your work environment and practices to your body's needs. 

Here are some tips for a few neck-pain-prone professions:

Health care providers

Surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, and the like can adjust the height of tables or patient beds to prevent stooping. Consider wearing loupes or magnifying glasses that keep your head neutral rather than bending forward.

Drivers

Truck and taxi drivers should have adequate lumbar support and sit close enough to the steering wheel that they don’t have to reach. Steering wheel grips relax your hold and minimize shoulder and neck tension.

Manual laborers

Physical laborers should use tools at the correct height to prevent excessive neck tilting. For example, you could adjust platforms or workstations to bring the task closer to eye level. When lifting, keep the load close to your body and lift with your legs, not your back or neck.

Retail workers

Employees in retail can benefit from anti-fatigue mats and shoes with proper support to reduce the load on the neck and spine. CPosition cash registers and other frequently used equipment to minimize repetitive twisting or reaching.

Educators

Teachers can maintain neck health by positioning materials they frequently reference at eye level, avoiding the need to look down consistently. During prolonged standing, alternating the weight from one foot to the other or using a footrest can help maintain proper alignment and reduce strain.

Treatment for work-related neck pain 

You can ease your neck pain by taking frequent breaks, reducing stress, and doing gentle stretches, but when self-care isn’t enough, you need Dr. McNulty. Here are some of the many ways he may address your neck pain: 

If these conservative measures don’t work, you may require minimally invasive surgical intervention. Don’t worry; your neck is in good hands with Dr. McNulty. Depending on the underlying cause, he may recommend one of the following procedures:

If your job is a pain in the neck, request an appointment online or call McNulty Spine.

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