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Why Does My Neck or Back Hurt at Work?

If you have asked yourself that question before, welcome to the 80% of Americans who are asking that same question. Work at a computer or desk can be taxing on your body. But, why is that the case? We aren’t doing rough manual labor, we aren’t jumping up and down, we aren’t even breaking a sweat! It feels like I’ve been in the fields working the crops, after a long day seated at a computer. Fatigue, soreness, and pain can occur all from being seated at the workplace. Our bodies are not designed for a sedentary lifestyle, and yet in the face of such a technologically driven society, we often feel there is no choice but to spend generous portions of the day sitting in one spot. The average healthy person's back and neck will take a beating from this low-energy lifestyle, leading to increased pain, stiffness and long-term problems. In other words, we prefer electronics over our physical well-being, and this needs to stop.

Movement is Life!

Our bodies are naturally designed to be active, and sedentary positions cause back and neck muscles to tense up from supporting the rest of the body in a single stance for too long. The spine is also adversely affected and takes much longer to heal. We are unable to recover from much of this damage once it occurs, and women in particular will incur unsightly varicose veins that result in the same circulatory blockages that can cause the back pain.

Despite many companies promoting ergonomic working conditions, countless employees continue to practice poor posture and typing at their desk. This adds additional strain to the back, leading to long-term (and oftentimes permanent) damage to lower back and posterior neck ligaments. Outside of sitting all day at the office, some of us additionally sit in heavy traffic during our daily commute and also sit while eating lunch. This only adds to the stress on our back.

Finally, sitting contributes to obesity, which of course leads to undue strain on the back. Our joints and muscles are not designed to endure extra weight as the years go by, and as our bodies are aging and growing more frail, we are demanding they take on more work. It's a process that is detrimental to the whole of our systems, but often starts in the back.

If you already consider yourself to be particularly active, other things can cause back pain in the workplace, including excessive force upon the back or repetitive movements for multiple hours.

The Painful Truth

Whether it's dull and achy or sharp and stabbing, back and neck pain can make it hard to concentrate on your job. Unfortunately, many occupations — such as nursing, construction and factory work — can place significant demands on your back. Even routine office work can cause or worsen back and neck pain.

A number of factors can contribute to neck and back pain at work. For example:

  • Force. Exerting too much force on your back — such as by lifting or moving heavy objects — can cause injury.
  • Repetition. Repeating certain movements can lead to muscle fatigue or injury.
  • Posture. Slouching exaggerates your neck and back's natural curves, which can lead to muscle fatigue and injury.

Of course, certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors — such as obesity, sleeping position, poor physical condition, smoking and stress — also can contribute to back pain.

So, if you want to kill yourself while making a buck, consider continuing in your work routine. However if you're looking for a solution, read on.

“I’ve had a long history of low back and neck pain, probably related to sitting all day at a computer and my posture at work, but I am finally feeling better and staying that way now that I am at Modoma MedMassage. This place has changed my life!”  

— Review by: Lauren S. of McKinney, Tx

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Stopping the Downward Spiral

For those who work in an office environment full time, there are steps you can take to minimize neck and back pain and injury. It's easy to suggest that you make a fuss at work until your employer abolishes chairs and replaces all standard work stations with standing or treadmill desks, but in all honesty, that is quite a task and often far from realistic. If you are not fortunate enough to work for a company that keeps employee health at the top of the priority list, but there are still things you can do to save your back and your health.

      • Stay active. This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent and/or relieve back pain. If you are able to, take frequent breaks at work and walk/jog during your lunch hour. Once you're home, overcome end-of-day fatigue by hitting the gym or walking the dog. In other words, avoid the TV and Internet.
      • Speak to your employer. This could include getting a chair specifically designed to alleviate back pain or an adjusted schedule to allow for stretches and an active breather from your cubicle.
      • Don't call in sick and stay in bed if you're feeling mild to moderate pain — the more you can continue to engage in active life and work to refine your daily desk routine, the better.
      • When pain is exceptionally bad, call a doctor. While rare, back pain can be a sign of something more serious. And, as mentioned prior, if your desk job is causing damage to your back, it could be causing damage to other parts of the body as well.
      • Get muscle care therapy. Manual massage or therapies similar, on a regular basis, can drastically change the way your body feels and responds and recovers from injuries. Studies have shown that around 60% of people that seek massage, do it for medical or health related reasons. There are several massage options out there but only a few that have medical guidance and protocols.


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It’s Time to Relax. After all, you deserve it. Schedule your 1-hour massage session today (Only $39)!



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Modoma is a medically directed health and wellness clinic providing physical medicine and rehabilitation. We combine the benefits of massage with the medical practicality of physical therapy.
4944 Preston Rd, Ste 100A
Frisco, TX 75034
(972) 861-1143