Neck pain can range from annoying to debilitating. What is a little stiffness if it goes away? Everybody has soreness after a long day at the computer. Usually it goes away, but sometimes it just gets worse.
The warning signs were there. I was starting to wake up a little stiff in the morning. The stiffness was going away in the shower, but it was starting to take a little longer. When looking over my shoulder to change lanes I was noticing a little extra stiffness. Maybe I was not able to look as far. Guess it was a little reminder to other drivers to stay out of blind spots, no damage done.
There was the soreness in my neck muscles. They would start to ache after an hour or two on the computer. A little rubbing and a quick coffee break would always help relief the discomfort. It was getting sorer in the afternoon. Maybe I was rubbing the muscles more in the afternoon. I did consider working on my posture this week to relieve the soreness; however, I really needed to concentrate on this project with the upcoming deadline. Ice was a fleeting thought, because that would involve walking over the freezer. Who wants to ice unless they have to?
Well now I have to ice. The pain went from a little stiff and sore to a constant dull ache. I feel this sharp stabbing motion when I look to the left or down. I want someone to rub it, but it is too tender. Who wants to sit here all weekend with neck pain?
Next week I will work on my posture. I do remember the talk and handout on posture. Sitting forward and slouching places more stress on the neck muscles and joints. The further the head goes forward the more stress on the neck joints and muscles. The repetitive stresses and postures can eventually overwhelm the tissue and create a small injury. Those injured tissues begin releasing small chemicals that signal injury and inflammation. The body responds by tightening up to protect the area. It tries to limit movement to further decrease the level of damage. It also makes everything sore and uses pain to keep me from doing something I shouldnt.
Maybe I should think more about performing those exercises and stretches. There is probably some wisdom into getting my neck stronger to endure the long hours at the computer. Increasing the muscle flexibility would probably help me long term to prevent reoccurrences of neck pain. Combining this with improving my posture would definitely help me in the long term.
I'm sure my head is not getting any bigger or heavier. However I keep slouching more and more. Several people have commented on my rounded shoulders and slouching when I am at the computer. It makes sense that the more forward my head is the harder the muscles have to work to support it. I really cannot decrease my work an hour, so improving my posture seems like an important step.
Those things need to wait for a few days because now it is about getting rid of this pain. Today I will focus on icing and performing my range of motion exercises. A couple of quick visits to the chiropractic and physical therapy clinic will help get rid of the pain.
As I sit here with an ice pack for the next 15 minutes, I'm going to make some great promises to myself. Now I am motivated to make the changes to get rid of the chronic neck pain.
-By several people you know or work with a week.