Back Pain Explained

Health Matters Q&A” with Sherman Mills chiropractor Dr. Ron MerrielThis installment: a simple explanation for one reader’s mysterious back pain.


I haven’t had an injury or an accident or anything but for the last six months I’ve had a come-and-go ache in my back, particularly between my shoulders, neck, across the middle of my back.

The only thing I can think of is maybe it’s all the hours I’ve been putting in at my new job?

-Josh M.

Hi Josh,

More and more, people are living their lives inside of a box. This box is approximately 3 feet wide, 3 feet high and 2 feet deep, give or take.

It is located directly in front of us and is actually the distance of a comfortable arm’s reach. Whether sitting in a car, on a couch, or at a computer, we may rarely reach outside of its boundaries.

This usually leads to an imbalance of the spine which can lead to pain and degeneration if measures aren’t taken to counteract it.

I believe what you are describing is a repetitive strain of your neck and back associated with long hours of desk work and not enough specific physical activity such as strength training, yoga or anything in between.

The pain you are experiencing may also have something to do with your work station. Ideally, you want to keep 90 degrees in mind for proper ergonomics while at your desk.  This means keeping a 90 degree angle at your ankles, knees, hips and elbows while you work at your station.

You also want to keep your computer screen at eye level and make sure you are not craning your neck forward, if possible.

Be sure to sit upright with your shoulders back and head tall, but relaxed. You may have to adjust the furniture at your workstation for the best result.

Chiropractic can certainly help with your discomfort. Subluxations (segments of the spine which aren’t moving properly) can develop from holding desk work postures (or any posture for that matter) for lengthened periods of time.

A chiropractor is trained to find subluxations and adjust them by using his/her hands or a specialized instrument. A muscle releasing technique could also be used to break up the adhesions in the muscles that have been repetitively strained.

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