Neck pain from Computer Use

businessman suffering from neck pain at officeNeck pain or pain at the base of the skull is a typical symptom of Repetitive Strain Injury for computer users.

This type of injury and pain generally originates from overused tendons at the base of the skull but can also be a symptom of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Cervical Osteoarthritis or Cervical Spondylosis. In most cases vibration therapy addresses neck pain effectively and other ergonomic tools, which we describe, will reduce the ongoing aggravation. In all cases however, it is important to get prompt investigation from a medical professional to diagnose your problem. 

Neck pain from computer postures arises from two issues:-

  1. Holding tense postures – time flies when we’re at a computer keyboard and even when we’re reading what’s on the screen you’ll often find your arms are held in a tense posture, ready to move that mouse or press that key!
  2. Slouching or otherwise – you can unconsciously be bending your neck backwards as you slouch which causes much more wear on the bones in your neck.

Our founder developed osteoarthritis in his neck from years of computer use and found he had a chronic RSI condition out of the blue: this is why he create this website!  Read our neck pain article which describes Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Cervical Osteoarthritis and Cervical Spondylosis and recommends courses of action for you.

Computer posture and how to improve it

Poor posture at the computer, over a long period, is often the source of these conditions, for example:-
Workstation ergonomics - good and bad posturesCervical spine orientation
Imagine what happens to the cervical spine (neck bones) when in a slouching position for hours at a PC!

The spine is forced back on itself and when held in this position for long periods of time, frequently over years can result in accelerated wear and tear damage – reduction in disc height, spurs on the bone surfaces etc. This can trap nerves and cause pain.

Your checklist

  1. Good PC PostureMaintain good posture – check these items:-
    • Adjustable height seat
    • Lumber support
    • Screen at arms length
    • Top of screen no higher than your eyes
    • Wrists should be in line with your forearm and hand, not at an angle, when using keyboard and mouse
    • Upper arm should be by your side and your inner elbow should be just about touching your side. Your forearm should be near horizontal and directly in front of your side. Numeric and function keypads on keyboards make this difficult to achieve and the tensed twisted arm posture is a major cause of RSI conditions and places a great deal of strain and tension at the neck.
      This is why we strongly recommend a vertical ergonomic mouse and compact ergonomic keyboard
  2. Thankfully highly effective software to monitor your posture exists using a webcam to spot when your posture ‘goes off’
  3. Keep moving and don’t maintain any fixed posture for long periods. You need to move your body around a bit. Physiotherapists suggest, humorously, that a seat with upturned pins on it is ideal…ensuring you didn’t sit there for long!
  4. Do you regularly use a shoulder bag, carry a work bag or briefcase in one hand? If so, this is a potential hazard in creating an imbalance in your shoulder (and chest/back muscles). A backpack bag can be better in creating more balance between the arms but can also add to impingement of tendons and nerves. A pull-along laptop/office bag, is often a much better solution because so much of the weight is transferred to the floor.
  5. Other tools and aids relevant to computer posture RSI conditions generally are below. :

Ergonomic Mouse & Keyboard Buying Guide

UK Suppliers UK Suppliers

Link to UK multiple purchase and B2B supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT Ergonomic Precision Mouse - Wired

    DXT02 Ergonomic Mouse

    Less expensive, wired version. Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View UK Supplier
  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse L/H-Normal

    Left-handed normal-size version (consider DXT02 instead if you have small hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse R/H-Normal

    Right-handed version (their normal size is for larger hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse R/H-Small

    Right-handed small-hand version (normal size is for large hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock.

    View UK supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View UK supplier
  • Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

    Wireless Ergonomic Optical Mouse from Anker

    Not ideal. Better than ‘normal’ mouse. Only suitable for larger hands

    View UK Supplier
  • Perixx-wireless-ergonomic-optical-mouse

    Wireless Ergonomic Optical Mouse from Perixx

    Not ideal. Better than ‘normal’ mouse. Only suitable for larger hands

    View UK Supplier

USA Suppliers USA Supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View USA Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse

    Select from left-hand, right-hand, small-hand, wired and wireless options

    View USA Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock.

    View USA supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View USA supplier

Canadian Suppliers Canadian Supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View Canadian Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse

    Select from left-hand, right-hand, small-hand, wired and wireless options

    View Canadian Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View Canadian Supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View Canadian Supplier

The Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 regular size models which are sometimes called 'large' (Right Wireless, Right Mac, Right Bluetooth, Right and Left) are for hands at least about 7 inches or 178 mm from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist crease. Hands shorter than 7 inches/178 mm may be more suitable for the VerticalMouse 4 Small.

Evoluent mice sizing guide