Tag archives


Computer Causing Neck Pain and Headaches?

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

The Curse of the Headache

I am one of those lucky few who rarely get headaches. So whenever I do fall victim to the random head pain, I don’t do a very good job dealing with it.

It both surprises and saddens me that people who get chronic headaches learn to live each and every day with the pain. I am in awe of these people, as I can barely carry on a conversation or concentrate on the simplest task with my head pounding.

As a Comox Valley Chiropractor, I meet people constantly who have had headaches for months and even years. They’ve been to the family doctor and the neurologist, they’ve had the CT scan or the MRI and they’ve finally settled on a daily regimen of some strong pain killer. They often end up in my office as a last resort, because they have nothing else to lose, and nobody has been able to identify the cause of their pain.

The fact is that a large proportion of headaches have at least some component originating from the structures in the neck. Simply put, the nerves, muscles, joints and ligaments of your neck can become irritated or inflamed and result in you feeling the pain in your head.  This irritation can result from injuries such as whiplash and sports trauma, or from more everyday stresses such as prolonged computer work.

A hallmark of these types of headaches (commonly confused with tension headaches) is that you will notice a decrease in your neck range of motion, often with pain at the end ranges of the movement. You will have very sore neck muscles, especially those located at the top of your neck under your skull. Often times these muscles, when massaged deeply, will reproduce your headache pain.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to suffer needlessly. If you haven’t found a solution to your ongoing headache problem, then a visit to your local chiropractor should be on your list of possible therapies.