Some jobs place demands on the body that a person isn’t even aware of until it screams in pain. Activities that cause a person to sit or stand with their head and neck in one position for hours is one source of neck discomfort. People on an assembly line and those with a desk job share the same risk. Here is why this happens, how it can be prevented and what can be done to treat it when it impacts a person’s daily activities.
The Neck is a Hub of Nerve Activity
Nerves come out of the spine in the upper back and neck and travel down the arms and up into the head. The muscles around the spine in the upper back, neck and shoulder area support the spine. But like all muscles in the body, they have their limits. Holding the neck, head and shoulders in one position for any length of time exhausts those muscles. They become tense, which irritates the nerves in the area. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain are the result.
Preventing the Neck and Back Pain
When a person is aware of how their neck and back muscles work, they can take steps to prevent the work environment from impacting them. Some of these steps include:
- Stretching the muscles in the neck and shoulders before settling into a long work session.
- Keeping the neck and shoulder muscles warm while working.
- Taking a break for a few minutes every hour to stretch the muscles out in the neck and shoulders.
- Having a sense of when to stop working for the day before the muscles become seriously exhausted.
The key to prevention is to allow the muscles to rest periodically so one doesn’t overwork them.
When the Muscle Tension and Pain Won’t Go Away
When one gets involved in a long-term project that places repeated stress on the neck and shoulder muscles, the cumulative effect can exhaust the muscles so they are tense all of the time. This causes inflammation of the tissues in the neck and shoulders, as well as irritation of the nerves.
A visit with a clinic that specializes in treating neck pain in Las Vegas is the first step. The doctors there will determine the precise location and extent of the muscle strain and recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Massage therapy with warm and cold packs to relax the tense muscles.
- Physical therapy to strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles to help prevent future occurrences.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) to block the pain signal from getting to the brain.
Very tense muscles can tighten up into hard knots under the skin and create painful muscle spasms. A combination of massage, muscle relaxants and TENS sessions may be necessary to get rid of the spasms and relax those muscles.
When tense neck and shoulder muscles begin to interfere with work and home life, it’s time to take preventative action. Adjusting the work environment may also be necessary to ensure that the condition doesn’t recur.