While working from home has been helpful in a lot of ways, one thing no one likes is a pesky pain in the neck while working from your home computer. Technology is wonderful, but posture will always be the most important component to any task at work. Poor posture is a huge contributor to conditions like chronic headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, tingling/numbness down the arms and into the fingers! But, why does this happen? Let’s start with some basic anatomy.
Figure 1. shows the neck with muscles and nerves that can become tight, pinched, or irritated with poor posture called the scalenes. Above and below each spinal vertebrae are spinal nerves that exit the spinal column, twist and combine to form the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves exiting the spine of the neck and supply motor function and sensation to the entire upper extremity. At any point in the spine, neck, or arm these nerves can become caught or pinched causing the symptoms mentioned earlier.
This is why posture is so important! Poor posture can contribute to tightness in the scalenes, pectoralis minor (Figure 1.), or carpal tunnel (Figure 2.). Help is here! Right now as you are reading this, pay attention to how your body is positioned and what muscles are tight. Did you just sit up straight while reading that? See if you can match the image below for good posture while sitting at your desk, and throughout the day.