Countless people suffer from pain at the base of the neck, across the top of the shoulders, and between the shoulder blades. Commonly, the pain is felt as a dull ache that can radiate up the neck, down into the arms, or around the ribs. The ache may progress into a sharp, pinching pain that can be felt at its source in the spine or ribs, especially when a big breath is taken.
As with many other forms of discomfort, we often think that the pain is a temporary problem and won’t last. We may endure this pain for long periods, occasionally stretching, getting the odd massage, or taking a painkiller when it gets really bad. But remember every pain has a source, and finding the cause is of utmost importance for optimal health.
Office workers and computer workers commonly complain of mid-back and neck pain. The nature of their job requires that they sit between 2-8 hours a day consecutively. Although great attempts are made to ensure ergonomically correct workplaces, which can make a huge difference, spinal pain can still persist. The reason is that in a seated posture, when you are bent over a desk or computer, your spine is placed under great stress that accumulates over time. The average head weighs just under a stone. If your head sits in front of your shoulders by as little as 1 inch, there can be up to 15 times more stress felt in the mid-back! Working in these positions can slowly erode the natural curves in the spine, causing spinal joint inflammation, muscle tiredness, and stiffness. As the vertebra in your spine slowly shift, they begin to close down the tiny doorways where the nerves exit, which then leads to pain that radiates, becomes sharp, or intensifies.
The reason this is so important to catch and correct early is that long-term damage can be done. The vertebrae under the greatest stress can decay, forming early arthritis which can further pinch the nerves and compound damage over time. The longer you live with the pain, the more damage is being done. It is cumulative.
Today, a huge part of the work force is comprised of valuable office workers and obviously the answer doesn’t lie in quitting your job. The answer lies in addressing the problem directly by seeking the cause of the irritation.
Chiropractors work to carefully identify where the nerves are being pinched. Over a series of adjustments, the spine can be slowly shifted back to its normal position and strengthened, allowing the nerves to become healthy again. When a nerve is free of irritation, there is no longer a need for pain to exist, and great relief ensues. In short, a stronger, healthier spine is more able to deal with the stresses of the office workplace.