Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pencil neck

pencilneck-1 I am getting a pencil neck. The atrophy in the neck region is now evident. I didn’t notice it a couple of years ago, but it has become more prominent within the last nine months. And, with the atrophy I noticed that many evenings and occasionally even in the afternoon my neck muscles just do not want to hold up my head. Sometimes I have cramping or pain, but most of the time it is just weakness that I experience.

I have seen this condition in several others with Kennedy’s Disease and my brother has experienced the problem for the last ten years or so. For some reason I thought I was immune. I continue to perform neck exercises every day and they seem to help, but something has happened recently that I cannot explain.

neck muscles1 I attribute some of the problem to working too many hours on the computer. I know that several days this winter I spent more than four hours at the PC without any breaks. A few days I probably spent close to eight hours working at the PC. I found if I spend less time at the computer and schedule more breaks, the neck fatigue is not evident or not quite as bad. This last week I spent an hour or so mid-afternoon in my recliner using a neck pillow (dog-bone). It seemed to help.

My questions for you are:
1. Are you having any neck weakness issues?
2. If so, is there anything that you have found that helps?

I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. I have been experiencing neck pain and weakness for some time. Usually, i just sit back in my easy chair when I get tired. On others days, I use a soft neck brace. It supports my head and eases the neck pain. Here is an example.

  2. Stan, thanks for commenting. I was hoping I wouldn't need a brace, but I might have to.

  3. Hi Bruce, I am sorry to hear your neck is not feeling well. Here are a few suggestions.

    First, you may have an ergonomic issue. The center of your computer monitor should be at eye level when you are looking straight ahead. You may need a chair or monitor stand to get it at the right level. I used to put my monitor on a phone book for that reason.

    If you are working at the computer for eight hours straight, that is too long. Try taking a 10-minute break every hour, move around and relax.

    Does your exercise program include any neck exercises? You might want to try some. Fortunately, the average human head weighs about 5 kg or 11 pounds, so that is all the weight you need. Try this: allow your head to sink slowly and gently to the side, until your ear nearly touches your shoulder; then return the head to the upright position. Try doing 10 reps of this on each side twice a day, then gradually increase as you can handle it. Also look into the Shaker (swallowing) exercise on the KDA forum, which is good for the neck too.

  4. Thanks for responding. I do several neck exercises every day including the ones you mentioned. My monitor is too low and needs to be raised about six inches. It is because I had to raise my office chair to make it possible to get up afterwards. Thanks again.


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