Neck pain in numbersBernice Clark ▼ | Thursday December 20, 2007 5:03AM ET
Special place in orthopaedic practice belongs to upper back, neck and spinal column. More than half of new employed computer users suffer from neck and shoulders pain, and one third of them develop damages or loose some functions. Those numbers are collected in three years long American research done at Emory University, Atlanta, and presented in 2002. If we have in mind the level of computer industry then and today those numbers are just the top of the iceberg. Contrary to widespread belief, carpal tunnel syndrome was the one of the rarest of examined disruptions - from carpal syndrome only 1 percent of users suffered.
The research of Emory University was very comprehensive, took a long time, and scientists observed employees who spent with computer 15 hours or more in a week. But today, people who use computer for living use it 15 hours or more a day. So, the picture today is darker than five and a half years ago. Almost 40 percent of computer users complain of pains in hands and fist, and almost 21 percent of new employed users have some function disorders. Women are suffering more than men, but scientists couldn't find out why.
The next January is the time for the World Congress on Neck Pain that will take place in Los Angeles, California, where leading doctors will present the most current data. We don't have it all, of course, but those few numbers that we do have show that neck pain really is pain in the neck.
Neck pain disables 5 percent of the population, up to 20 percent of US population have chronic neck pain, and up 70 percent of population will suffer from neck pain at least once in a lifetime. The direct cost of treating neck pain caused by simple whiplash is more than $9 billion - in the US. This is just the direct cost. Add to that loss of productivity, suffering, data from other countries and other types of injuries or working conditions that cause a neck pain and you'll get the real picture.
Your neck is complex mechanism that contains bones, joints, tendons, muscles and nerves. Unfortunately, any of the neck parts can hurt. Fortunately, that pain can warn you and prevent more serious conditions. But, modern lifestyle will bring more and more problems with upper back, neck and spinal column. ■