Work injuries cause
most neck and back pain in men. Neck and arm problems can also result
from prolonged computer use. A few simple steps will decrease your risk
of injury. If you do get hurt, see a neurosurgeon. He or she can help
you get better without surgery.
80% of all Americans will have back injuries at some point in their lives.
To decrease the risk, warm up before heavy work, be careful when lifting,
and do core-strengthening exercises regularly. Proper lifting techniques
and just slowing down are both critical.
Squat, do not bend
at the waist
Keep your lower
Hold the weight
close to the body
If you must turn,
move your feet
Put the weight down
again by bending at the knees
Bad habits will
increase your risk of back pain. The following have all been shown to be
associated with back problems.
If you do hurt your
back, problems will resolve 90% of the time with four to six weeks with
conservative care. Ice, anti-inflammatory medications (if tolerated),
mild pain medications, work modifications, and gentle exercise (walking or
swimming) are helpful. Too much bed rest is bad for the back. If you have
leg pain, or if your back pain does not start to get better in a week or
two, see your neurosurgeon.
Hours at a computer
workstation can be bad for your health. Neck and arm injuries can be
caused by poorly designed workplaces and too much time in front of the
screen. The following will decrease your risk.
fix your chair. You should have an adjustable chair where the seat
height, seat angle, back height, back angle, and arms can all be moved.
Such chairs can be purchased from office stores for less than $200.
Push your hips back
in the chair
Your feet should be
flat on the floor
Your knees and hips
should be level
The chair should
support both your upper and your lower back
A small pillow can
be very helpful
Second, fix your
keyboard. Pick an adjustable keyboard tray with a mouse pad. The tray
should go in and out, up and down, and tilt.
Pull yourself close
to the keyboard
Raise the keyboard
so your elbows are horizontal and wrists straight
Tilt the keyboard
Use wrist-rests if
Put the mouse near
Next, arrange your
desk. Put everything you use within easy reach.
The monitor should
be directly in front of you and above the keyboard
Place the monitor
so that your head is not tilted.
Stay 18 or 20
inches from the screen
Reduce glare by
tilting the screen
between the monitor and keyboard
telephone within easy reach and use a headset
Lastly, remember to
You can get help from
an ergonomics expert. Most physical therapists and chiropractors will do
worksite evaluations. Do not move heavy computers without assistance.
If you do hurt your
neck or arms, the pain will go away in 90% of people in 4 to 6 weeks.
Ice, anti-inflammatory medications (if tolerated), work modifications, and
stretching, are all helpful. If you have severe pain, or you do not start
to get better in a couple of weeks, see a neurosurgeon.
If you have spine
problems see a neurosurgeon
specialize in spinal problems and carpal tunnel injuries.
more information on spine problems see