Muscles have limits. They’re not prepared to do any task and when those limits are exceeded they protest: they generate danger signals that reach the evaluative brain areas from which, according to criteria and contexts, the perception of pain is projected on the body area the muscle is working at.


One of the punishments we had at school was to keep our arms crossed. It hurt. Once it was over, the pain disappeared.


Working in an office in front of the computer is not exactly the same as keeping your arms crossed in school, but it may have some similarities. We force particular muscles to stay contracted. Mostly the upper-trapezium.


Muscles have several types of fibers with different metabolisms. Some are able to withstand a prolonged but light load, and others generate an explosive strength but get tired easily. When the required load is small and constant, only the small and resistant motor units are activated. They are the “Cinderella” units, as they are the ones that put up with most of the everyday office tasks.


There are many citizens (especially women) that suffer from upper-trapezium pain, related to working on the computer. It’s accepted that the muscle is overloaded. Too much is asked of it. What is less clear is the genesis of pain. Bad posture? Accumulation of overload? Stress? Trigger Points?


Exercises, relaxation, anti-inflammatory drugs (although there’s no inflammation), needles are suggested.


X-rays, MRIs are taken.


It’s said: you’re stressed, you have several herniated discs…


Advice is given: too much work… this activity isn’t good for your spine… swimming, yoga.


Nowadays it’s difficult to avoid the constant activity in front of a computer. Since it is so, it would be good to do it with a good technique. Economic automated programs, with minimal muscle activity.


The good technique includes, in addition to ergonomic elements and psychological calmness regarding the task in progress, good vibes with the task, bosses and colleagues and trust in the body to organize the activity safely and effectively. No irrational fears.


Overloads are fought by lightening absurd, unproductive loads. For this, it’s necessary to observe the patient in his environment, in his activity, and make physiological corrections.


– Get on the computer.


It’s like a music lesson:


– Play…


The muscles are part of actions. An action or activity is more than a muscle contraction.


Behind the pain there are many factors to consider.


Behind a bad musical performance as well.


The teacher’s work is essential.


The student’s, of course, too.

This entry was posted in muscular pain by arturo goicoechea. Bookmark the permalink.

About arturo goicoechea

Born in Mondragón, Guipúzcoa, in 1946. Head of the Neurology Department at the Santiago Hospital in Vitoria (Álava), Spain. Published books: Jaqueca, 2004. Depresión y dolor, 2006. Cerebro y dolor (Esquemas en dolor neuropático) 2008. Migraña, una pesadilla cerebral, 2009.

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