Computer Neck is a relatively new injury to the body that affects millions of people around the world. Previously, the only way to get a really bad crick in the neck as well as the associated pain that would last for days is by cradling the telephone receiver on one shoulder by wedging the ear against the phone which is pressed against the right or left shoulder. Spending a few hours on the phone in that position invariably lead to a pain in the neck. (Sometimes you actually were talking to a pain in the neck on the other end).
So now we spend too much time in front of screens. Laptops, desktops, Ipads, cellphones, electronic gaming devices and the list goes on. Some people spend over 8 hours a day in font of a computer screen, and many forget to take hourly breaks and stretch. Sitting in the same position for hours and hours can cause “computer neck”. A mild case my just leave muscles sore or stiff for awhile, while repeated infringements may actually cause the pain to worsen and may even restrict head motion. Not being able to move your head or feel stabbing pain when you do is the reward for hours and hours of uninterupted computer time.
Time in front of the computer may be for work, for gaming, for shopping, reading a book, or to just pass the time with hours of research. The pain begins in the shoulders and rises into the side of the neck on one or both sides. This may prompt a visit to the local chiropractor or physical therapist, or even your doctor. For mild cases, try the hot tub to loosen up locked muscles.
Computers can cause you to hunch your shoulders and create postural syndrome which involves injury to the neck and thoracic spine. “We call it the flex-forward posture, where your head’s jetting forward, the abdominals shut down and the majority of the pressure comes to the mid-back,” said Caroline Palmer, a physical therapist at the Stone Clinic, based in San Francisco. “Your spine is going to have to give somehow.”
Hot tubs that have neck jets will be the best bet unless you want to hold your breath while you try to position your head and neck up against a massage jet underwater. Unlike a shower that has gravity pressure as the water comes out of the faucet, a hot tub jet is actually powered by the hot tub pump that provides constant water flow which in turn makes for a stronger massage.
In order to increase the pressure further, some spas allow you to turn off unused jets so that remaining jets on the same pump line will become stronger. Also be sure the jet you are trying to get the massage from is all the way open and that any diverter valves are set to the maximum position for the jet you are working with.
You can allow water to shoot directly on the sore spot, but it is also a good idea to provide slow rotational movement so that the jet hits the area around the injured spot to improve blood flow to the affected area(s).
So take breaks every 20 minutes or so if you can, and definitely take a longer one every hour. Get up and stretch at least! You can do some arm stretches and circles to get the blood flowing. Also watch cutting off circulation from sitting under your two legs for a long time as you will also need the hot tub to massage the backs of your thighs and upper legs to get blood flowing there too.
One great thing about using a hot tub to help relieve strained neck muscles is that you won’t be sitting in front of the computer while you are in the hot tub!
See our listing of hot tubs to find the right one for you.