Has the pandemic increased my neck and back pain?

What do you mean by “Zoom fatigue” and “tech neck”?

Fatigue is defined as “feeling overtired, with low energy and a strong desire to sleep that interferes with normal daily activities.” In short, “Zoom fatigue” is simply just fatigue that is caused by the extended use of a computer, laptop, phone or tablet. The term “tech neck” refers to the tightening of the upper back and neck muscles accompanied by pain and loss of mobility. Just like “Zoom fatigue”, “tech neck” is also caused by the extended use of a computer, laptop, phone or tablet.


Has the pandemic increased my neck and back pain?

Currently in our practice, we are seeing an increase in the number of patients coming in with pain from “Zoom fatigue” and “tech neck”. This rise in patient numbers is likely due to the effect COVID-19 has had on the world since it was declared a pandemic in March 2020 by the World Health Organization. In the Spring and Summer of 2020, many businesses across America shut down, and the wearing of face masks in public became federally mandated. Social distancing became the new norm for most people, especially for all “non-essential” workers.

On June 29, 2020, May Wong from Stanford News stated “almost twice as many employees are working from home as at work.” Think about the amount of people whose jobs do not require or allow sitting at a desk all day for work… That’s a lot of people! When all of these active workers had to start working from home, it created a sedentary environment at a computer all day.

Over the course of the past year or so, those who have become less active are now struggling with fatigue, immobility, poor range of motion, neck pain, and back pain. Spending copious hours staring at a screen each day can really take a toll on the eyes. Doing so strains the eyes and can cause vision problems such as changes in color perception and blurred vision. This can lead to headaches, as well as fatigue. Hunching your back all day while working on the computer is a surefire way to cause painful flare ups or stiffness in the neck, upper back and wrists


neck and back pain

How is “Zoom fatigue” or “tech neck” diagnosed?

Technically, there is no diagnostic code for either “diagnosis.” Possible diagnoses include, but are not limited to, cervicalgia (neck pain), subluxation/segmental dysfunction, cervical facet joint pain, cervical spondylosis, cervical spondylolisthesis (anterolisthesis or posterior listhesis), cervical sprain/strain, and pinched nerve.


How are “Zoom fatigue” and “tech neck” treated?

Based on an examination by your chiropractor, treatment plans may include a variety of treatment options. First and foremost, receiving chiropractic adjustments on a regular basis is the most effective holistic treatment. Your chiropractor will realign your spine and remove the kinks in your nervous system, just like removing the kinks in a garden hose. These spinal adjustments allow your nervous system to flow properly, which reduces pain and inflammation naturally.

Your doctor will determine whether you should apply ice or heat to the affected area, which may be combined with electric muscle stimulation therapy. Ultrasound and/or laser therapy may also be suggested, as both of these passive modalities heal the tissues deep within. Physical rehabilitation combined with chiropractic care is the best option for most patients suffering with pain in any joint of the body. Physical rehabilitation may include stretching, strengthening, and stabilizing the body through exercises tailored to fit your specific needs by your chiropractor. Manual massage, cupping, and scraping therapies may all help to release the lactic and uric acid build up within your muscles.

If the previously mentioned therapies do not create positive results or unintentionally cause your symptoms to worsen, pain management will likely be the next best option. Pain management includes the use of medications prescribed by a medical doctor, such as pain killers and muscle relaxers, which may be accompanied by steroid injections. Using certain medications can put some patients at risk for becoming addicted, so it is extremely important to take your prescribed medication as directed and to pay attention to the way your body reacts to it.


For more information please visit us at one of our convenient ZENITH Injury Relief & Wellness Clinic locations. Call 972-210-0033 to schedule today!

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