If Your Desk Job Is A Major Headache And Pain In The Neck, A Chiropractor May Help

If you perform computer work for several hours a day and you're experiencing neck and back pain, it may be time to visit a chiropractor. Poor posture on the job is a common cause of spinal misalignment, muscle pain and tension headaches. Chiropractors often treat office workers suffering from these issues, and they do so through spinal manipulation, massage, physical therapy and other techniques. If you're hoping to find a natural, drug-free solution to treating your chronic pain, a consultation with a chiropractor might lead you in the right direction.

Why Desk Jobs Can Be a Pain in the Neck for Some Individuals

If your computer monitor is not placed at eye level or if it is off-centered, your viewing angle could be causing you to strain your neck. Additionally, if your office chair is not ergonomically designed with proper lumbar support, your spine could become misaligned, a major cause of neck and back pain. These are good reasons to consult with a chiropractor, who may offer practical solutions and successful chiropractic treatment to relieve your pain.

What to Expect From Your Initial Visit to a Chiropractor

Your chiropractor will take your full medical history, perform a physical examination and evaluate your case. He or she will want to know how long you've been suffering from your symptoms and what your work habits or daily tasks include. The specialist may offer suggestions for improving poor posture on the job, then initiate treatment to bring you relief from your pain. Before treatment begins, x-rays or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be taken to determine if your spine is misaligned or if there are other issues involving the musculoskeletal system.

What Your Chiropractic Treatment May Involve

Depending upon your needs and diagnosis, your chiropractor will devise a specific course of treatment. This may include (although not be limited to) manual manipulation to realign the spine, massage and electrical nerve stimulation. Hot and cold therapy may also be effective.

If you're unfamiliar with any of the above mentioned techniques, here is a rundown of each and how your chiropractor may use them to help ease your discomfort:

  • Spinal Manipulation: Your doctor may refer to this as manual manipulation or chiropractic manipulation. This technique is intended to reduce pressure on the nerves by properly realigning the spine. Doing so may relieve neck and back pain considerably. When performing manual manipulation, your chiropractor will apply thrusts to the affected area, with the use of his or her hands. Some refer to this technique as "cracking the back". When this procedure is performed, gentle popping noises may be heard, similar to the sound of cracking one's knuckles.

  • Chiropractic Massage: To improve the efficiency of your musculoskeletal system and lessen your pain, your chiropractor may offer beneficial massage. Massage helps increase circulation and relax tense muscles and joints. This technique also helps relieve neck muscle spasms, a common cause of tension headaches.

    For the massage, you will undress and cover yourself with a sheet or towel, while lying on your stomach. Only the areas to be massaged will be exposed, such as neck, shoulders, arms and back. To avoid irritation, oil or lotion may be applied to your skin. Various techniques may be used for your massage, such as kneading or long strokes of the hands. You may be asked to communicate any discomfort felt during the procedure, or if you prefer your specialist to exert more force or pressure.

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): This technique is performed with the use of a device that delivers a low-voltage electrical current to the affected area. Intended to increase circulation, stimulate nerves and relieve pain, the procedure is performed by attaching wires (referred to as electrodes) that run from the machine to your skin. Your chiropractor will adjust settings accordingly, which may include various intensity levels.

  • Hot and Cold Therapy: In conjunction with other techniques, your chiropractor may alternate between heat and ice therapy to reduce pain and inflammation. While the use of a heating pad for 20-30 minutes may bring relief to sore, aching muscles, a follow-up using an ice pack for the same length of time may reduce swelling of the affected area.

As a general rule of precaution, treatment should only be performed by a licensed and experienced professional. However, not every individual is an ideal candidate for spinal manipulation or other chiropractic treatment. A trained chiropractor can evaluate risk factors and explain possible side effects and techniques to be used.