Comox Valley Chiropractor – Tips for your Health

Health tips from your Comox Valley Chiropractor

Computer Causing Neck Pain and Headaches? July 6, 2009

I can’t tell you the number of patients I see on a daily basis who have serious neck pain and headaches from sitting at their computers all day. Many people have horrible set-ups with low chairs, high screens or laptops. Others simply sit in the position for hours on end without moving, only to go home and play video games or do more work on the computer. Returning to the same position day after day causes these problems to build up to a point where they just won’t go away.

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A growing proportion of these people in my office tend to be students. That is why I was very interested in an article that recently was published in the journal Cephalalgia. 1,073 students were evaluated for neck pain and headaches, computer use and other associated factors.

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Results showed that 26% of students reported suffering from headaches (interestingly, twice as many females as males). 20% reported neck pain and 7% reported both. The median computer use time per week was listed as 8.5 hours, with the overall range being 0-28 hours. When psycho-social factors were surveyed, females scored higher than males (more problems).

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The researchers found that high hours of computer work was positively associated with neck pain, but not with headache pain. Higher psycho-social scores were found to be associated with higher incidence of neck pain.

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This study not only shines light on the negative impact of computer use on adolescent health, it also shows that people of this age group do report a high amount of pain and headache symptoms. It suggests that in addition to manual treatment to relieve symptoms, that sufficient time be spent by the clinician educating the adolescent on ergonomics, posture and stretching.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

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Proper Workplace Setup April 10, 2008

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As a Comox Valley Chiropractor, I see alot of people who have pain and stiffness from working at their desks. Simply put, your body wasn’t mean to sit at a computer for extended periods of time. It is this immobility and sustained position that is so irritating for the body. The following is a reproduction of helpful information that appears on our Chiropractic Comox Valley website:

Workplace Ergonomics

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As the workload increases, so do repetitive actions like keyboarding and answering the phone. These routine tasks can add a level of physical stress to the emotional and mental stress of getting the job done. In fact, repetitive strain injuries have skyrocketed in the last two decades due to the increasing reliance on workplace technology.

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The good news is that a few simple changes to your office set-up can help make your job easier, safer and more efficient.

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Keyboard

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Position it above your lap. Ensure that you can type with your arms relaxed, close to your body with elbows bent at 90 degrees and wrists level.

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Computer Monitor

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Position it directly in front of you. Keep it free of dirt and smudges in order to reduce glare. Allow the muscles in your eyes to relax by following the 20/20/20 rule: take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and focus on an object that is at least 20 feet away from you. Make sure to use proper corrective eyewear to avoid leaning or straining forward to see the computer screen.

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Mouse

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Some workers have a vice-like grip on the mouse. Try using a light grip to avoid strain. When you move it around, use your elbow to guide it instead of your wrist.

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Telephone

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Use your hand to support the telephone against your ear and alternate sides regularly. Do not cradle the phone between your ear and your shoulder. If you are on the phone a lot, consider using a headset or speaker to reduce strain on your neck and arms.

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Chair

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Sit upright and all the way to the back. Place a support cushion or roll against the arch of your back for lumbar spine support. Here are some tips to help you adjust your chair:

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1. Stand in front of the chair and adjust the height so that the highest point of the seat is just below your kneecap.

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2. Sit on the chair and make sure that your knees are bent at approximately a 100 degree angle when your feet are flat on the floor.

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3. Adjust the backrest forwards and backwards as well as up and down until it fits the hollow in your lower back.

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4. Sit upright with your arms hanging by your sides. Bend your elbows at about a right angle and adjust the armrest height until they barely touch the undersides of the elbows. Remove the armrest from the chair if the right level cannot be achieved or if the armrests, in their lowest adjustment, elevate your elbows even slightly.

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Take A Break

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Try not to sit in any one position for a long period of time. Take a quick stretch break or change position every 30 to 45 minutes. For a quick and easy stretch, stand up and raise your arms above your head.

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Your Comox Valley Chiropractor is here to help. Chiropractors can help prevent workplace problems by advising you on how to set up an ergonomic workstation. Should you suffer a repetitive strain injury, your Comox Valley Chiropractor can also provide treatment for your pain.

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