With roughly 80% of jobs being sedentary, often requiring several hours of sitting stooped in front of a computer screen, neck pain is a growing occupational hazard. Smartphones and other devices have also caused people to bend their necks for prolonged periods. But is bad posture solely to blame?
In a recent study, researchers at Texas A&M University have found that while poor neck and head postures are indeed the primary determinants of neck pain, body mass index, age and the time of the day also influence the neck’s ability to perform sustained or repeated movements.
“Neck pain is one of the leading and fastest-growing causes of disability in the world,” said Xudong Zhang, professor in the Wm Michael Barnes ’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “Our study has pointed to a combination of work and personal factors that strongly influence the strength and endurance of the neck over time. More importantly, since these factors have been identified, they can then be modified so that the neck is in better health and pain is avoided or deterred.”