Desk Job Dilemma: Understand and Alleviate Neck Pain

Desk Job Dilemma: Understand and Alleviate Neck Pain

Desk Job Dilemma: Understand and Alleviate Neck Pain

07 August 2023  | Article is written by Sushaanthini A/P Panneerselvan (Physiotherapist, BP Specialist Centre Ipoh), Reviewed by Dr Lee Wang Loong (Chief Medical Officer (Southern Region), BP Healthcare Group)

Source: Freepik

Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSDs) are defined as injuries of the musculoskeletal system, affecting the tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and discs. Neck pain is one of the common forms of WRMSDs.

Work-related neck pain is a major problem among people who spend a lot of time using computers and mobile phones. Interestingly, women have been experiencing neck pain more than male due to the higher musculoskeletal load.

  • Prolonged body posture

Holding the neck in a semi-flexed position and sitting for a long time can cause pressure on vertebral disc, ligaments and muscle

  • Poor workstation design

Poorly designed workstations can overload certain body part, causing musculoskeletal injuries like neck pain

  • Restricted cervical spine mobility

Reduced the neck’s muscle strength and endurance and causing discomfort

  • Lack of exercises

Reduced muscle endurance for the neck muscle and upper back

  • Age factor

Muscle degeneration increases with age and the risk for neck pain

  • Psychosocial factor

Stress can increase the risk of developing neck pain by 1.6 times

  • Untreated neck injury

Can strain your skeletal and muscular system and cause neck whiplash

  • Occasional or constant upper back and neck pain
  • Radiating pain to the back of the head
  • Occasional nausea
  • Frequent neck spasm
  • Pain and soreness between shoulder blades
  • Numbness running down fingers
  • Sharp pain during sudden turning of the neck
  • Neck stiffness
  • Deep aching pain
Risk Factors
  • Neuromusculoskeletal disorders

(Spondylosis; spine osteoarthritis degeneration, Spondylolysis; vertebrae stress fracture, Spondylolisthesis; vertebrae displacement)

  • Osteoarthritis (Early degeneration)
  • Slipped disc
  • Myofascial pain syndrome (Chronic pain disorder)
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Problems
Source: Research Gate
  • X-rays: Reveals area in the neck where the nerves and spinal cord may be pinched by bone spurs (bony projections at bone’s edge)
  • CT Scans and X-ray: Display structures inside the neck
  • MRI: Create detailed image of bones and soft tissues (disc, spinal cord, nerve)
  • Electromyography: Determine whether neck pain is related to pinched nerves

Image on the left shows an X-ray image of a narrow disc space, which indicates early degenerative changes with bone spurs

Physiotherapy Intervention and Treatment

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Dry needling

Inserting a thin needle into myofascial area (soft tissues surrounding and separating muscles) until it reaches the trigger point. Stimulates muscles which causes it to either contract or twitch.

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Deep tissue massage

Offers both physical and psychological benefits by relieving muscle pain and stiffness, and promotes stress relieving relaxation for the body and mind.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

Provides temporary pain relief by blocking and overriding nerve signals to the brain. TENS and EMS help reduce muscle spasm and improve strength respectively.

Source: Freepik
Therapeutic Ultrasound

Can treat injuries, muscle spasm and acute or chronic issues for neck pain. Help relieve pain, improve circulation and promote tissue healing.

Source: Health Central
Manual therapy Techniques

Use massage and mechanical pressure to target muscles and other soft tissues. Increase tissue extensibility and joint motion and improve blood flow.

Cervical Traction

Helps relieve pressure by pulling the neck away gently. It can be done manually or with a traction device.

Source: Healthline
Neck stretches on daily basis

Help improve circulation and improve mobility for the neck.

Source: Freepik

Lifestyle change

Ensuring a correct sitting posture can help avoid neck pain, improve productivity and help alleviate stress. Taking frequent breaks at work may also reduce fatigues and muscle tightness.

How can BP Healthcare help you treat neck pain?

BP Healthcare is always striving to help people live a healthier life. In addition to our comprehensive health screenings, we also have in-house physiotherapy services.

Our physiotherapy service includes physical assessments by our certified physiotherapists, customised rehabilitation programme, various electrical-based therapies for pain management and ergonomic advice and homecare.

Secure 3 Physiotherapy sessions for just RM450 and enjoy a FREE Body Composition Analysis and a pampering massage oil!

Should you need to get instant relief at the comfort of your home and workplace, you can also consider using our wireless TENS massager! It is a highly effective treatment for body pain and most importantly, it is simple and easy to use.

Get our effective, modern and user-friendly BP iMassager today at only RM250!