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Neck Pain from Computer Work

Neck Pain from Computer Work

Why and How to Avoid It

Although it may not always seem obvious, like stubbing your toe, neck pain from computer work can be just as painful and problematic as blatant trauma to your body. Having a job that requires you to be in front of the computer may seem like the most comfortable job anyone could ever have. However, that is usually not the case. Computer work is actually very tough on the body.

It has been revealed by medical experts that when you sit for too long it has the tendency to lead to back pain. The same task hampers blood circulation and can potentially lead to vascular system challenges. Using the mouse and keyboard very often has the capacity to stiffen the muscles of the hands, neck, and arms. It also causes certain kinds of injuries and inflammation due to the repetition.

It has also been known that when you stare at the screen for too long it has the capacity to lead to headaches or dry eyes. And most of all, computer work can be the most stressful work anyone can ever think of because it’s work! It is not only stressful but it is isolating and it can also lead to anxiety and depression. The bottom line is that any job requiring long exposure to a computer is usually a very unhealthy job.

Neck Pain from using a computer wrong.
With some awareness, computer work does not need to cause neck pain.

In this article, I will show you some culprits of neck pain from computer work and how you can attempt to fix them or avoid them totally. Of course, it’s always best to do this in conjunction with seeing a qualified healthcare provider.

• Causes of Neck Pain from Computer Work

You may experience ergonomic issues when you frequently use the computer. A warning was issued by Rosemont, an orthopedic surgeon. He notes that movements you frequently repeat, awkward postures, or forceful exertions are all required for work with a computer. These can all lead to muscle, tendon, and nerve damage.

Ergonomic issues can also have symptoms that might include neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and arm pain that may be persistent according to the AAOS. Having a proper sitting posture and a workstation that is properly designed can help to eliminate such problems.

Learn more about the AAOS at –

Laptops are hard to use without effecting the neck.
Laptops are notorious, like smartphones, for causing neck problems.

Avoiding Computer Work-Related Neck Pain

• Chair
It is recommended that workers who are constantly on computers should opt for a chair that is height adjustable. A seat that tilts may be helpful as well. Workers should sit while resting their backs on the chair, from bottom to top. They should have both legs resting on the floor. They may need a footrest, the AAOS recommends, if the elbows are not at table height when resting at the sides of the body. The thighs should be horizontally aligned with the hip. The armrest of the chair should be such that the elbows are in a position nearer to the waist. Or, armrests do not need to be used at all.

• Work Surfaces
Generally speaking, most people are very comfortable when their chair has a height so that the elbows are at the height of the desk surface. The height of the table on which the mouse or keyboard lies is expected to be 1-3 inches above the legs. The keyboard should be placed at the center, right in front of the worker. To help maintain a correct posture, it is recommended that the worker keep their elbows resting at their sides, the wrist should be straight, and the arms should be almost in a perpendicular angle with the floor.

• Monitor
It is recommended by experts that workers should have their monitor centered right in front of them. The distance between the monitor and the body should be the length of one arm. This is to ensure accurate positioning and prevent overstraining the muscles of the neck.


• Keep a proper alignment of the ears over the shoulders, and the shoulders over the hips
• To prevent a strain on the shoulders, you should have your upper arms hanging relaxed and kept closer to the body
• To avoid a strain on the wrist, you should keep your hands straight
• Relax your fingers on the keyboard and try not to hit the keys with a force that is unnecessary
• Gently handle the mouse and do not hold any other thing on the same hand while holding the mouse

If you are in the Greater Toronto Area and would like a customized on-site or online video virtual ergonomic assessment, contact our corporate health and wellness company at