Musculoskeletal disorders affecting the neck are a significant cause of pain, stiffness, and disability in Indian society. Reports of point prevalence of neck pain range from 9.5% to 35% while 12-month prevalences may be as high as 40% in certain populations. In our clinic, Pro Physiotherapy providing treatment for neck pain daily, a minimum of 5 new patients are suffering and patients are from various age groups, from college students to older senior citizens.
Most clinicians involved in the management of neck conditions would attest to a strong association between prolonged sitting, or poor sitting posture, and neck pain. Experimentally, Hagberg and Wegman1 found that data entry operators, typists, and computer operators have a great risk of developing neck pain than office workers, while Skov et al2 found a significant association between the time spent sitting at work and neck pain. From clinical observation, the causes of neck pain have risen with the increased use of computers in schools, at work, and also in the home environment.
When poor sitting posture is a cause of or a contributing factor to a patient’s symptoms, pain associated with sitting may be reported, particularly with prolonged computer use, when driving or while sitting in lectures or at the movies. It would be expected that neck pain caused by sitting posture alone would be quickly decreased or relieved by correction of the aggravating position.
However, musculoskeletal dysfunction in the cervical spine may be the source of the symptoms, which are then aggravated by the offending postures. Pain relief would then be dependent on the identification and correction of the underlying dysfunction. While neck pain may occur in isolation, it should be remembered that cervical structures may also refer to pain to the shoulder, upper limb, chest, or head.
Observation of the patient’s posture in sitting may reveal a forward head posture or ‘poked chin’, although this may not be evident until the posture has been sustained for some time. Forward head posture has been shown to be associated with specific cervical joint dysfunction and lack of strength and endurance in the deep cervical flexor muscle group in cervicogenic headache.
Janda3 contends that forward head posture is associated with a pattern of muscular dysfunction which includes tightness in the upper trapezius and pectoral muscle groups with weakness or lack of control in the deep neck flexors and the lower scapular stabilizers.
generalized neck movements may be limited and tightness of the upper trapezius or scalene muscles may restrict side flexion movements. manual examination of the neck may reveal hypo or hypermobility of specific joints as well as tightness or trigger points in the muscles
Physiotherapists are trained to detect musculoskeletal dysfunction associated with neck pain and postural abnormalities and formulate management programs based on the clinical history and patterns of dysfunction present. Pro Physiotherapy in Bangalore has 14 years of clinical experience in the management and treatment of neck pain. And the leader in the field of physiotherapy in Bangalore.
- Hagberg M and Wegmand DH (1987) Prevalence rates & odds ratios of shoulder-neck conditions in different occupational groups. British Journal of Industrial Medicines, 44, 602-10.
- Skov T, borg and Orhede E (1996) physical & Psychological risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, shoulders and back in salespeople. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 53, 351-6.
- Janda V (1994) Muscles and motor control in cervicogenic disorders. In Grant R (Ed), Physical Therapy of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine, 2nd ed, pp 195-216. New York: Churchill Livingstone.