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I'm wondering if looking slightly down and to the left puts more strain on the left or right side of my neck.

For a little background, I use two enormous monitors and I think I use the on on the left more than the one on the right. I also have constant neck pain on the left back side of my neck so I was wondering if the two are connected.

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What options do you have of moving around the monitors? Because preferably the answer would recommend you to change the layout to help reduce the strain on your neck. If you can add a picture on a more detailed explanation of what your desk looks like, that would also help us help you ;-) – Ivo Flipse Apr 6 '11 at 10:31
I can move the monitors pretty much anywhere 180 degrees in front of me. Right now there are two 27" monitors side by side on my desk. I was thinking of putting the primary directly in front of me and the less used one off to the right. Right now both are equal in front of me (so I have to look to the left or right to see either one dead on). – themerlinproject Apr 6 '11 at 17:28
You could consider putting them on their side, giving you more vertical real estate, but will require less horizontal rotation. Although it may make the looking up and down worse and your monitors might not allow it. – Ivo Flipse Apr 6 '11 at 18:00
I would recommend exactly what you suggested in your comment. Put one monitor with your 'main content' directly in front of you with the peripheral windows off to the side on the other monitor. This is my setup and it works great, although my monitors are considerably smaller. – BuffaloBuffalo Apr 8 '11 at 14:54

The two are definitely related. Changing the orientation could help, but then maybe you would have the same issue in another area. Being aware of the fact that your head orientation does affect the musculature in your neck is a good star to finding a solution.

I am a big fan of regular massage. While massage will alleviate some issues, daily stretching is the thing that will keep these pains from developing into a chronic problem. There are lots of good neck stretches that you can do while sitting in your chair.

Grip the bottom of the chair with the left hand. Reach over your head with your right hand and place it on your left ear. With your neck in neutral position, pull your right eat down toward your right shoulder. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, release and return to neutral. Repeat several times then duplicate on the opposite side.

Next turn your face 45 degrees to the right, and reach your right hand up and place it on the back of your head close to your neck. Pull your nose down toward your right pec. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, release and return to neutral. Repeat several times then duplicate on the opposite side.

For the last stretch, turn your face 45 degrees to the left, and reach over your head with your right hand, and place it on your left ear. Pull your right ear down toward your right pec. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, release and return to neutral. Repeat several times then duplicate on the opposite side.

You can do these stretches several times a day, but don't stop doing them just because it feels better. Unless you change your work conditions, you should probably continue to do these on a daily basis.

If these stretches do not alleviate the pain you're experiencing, I would suggest you consider seeing a physical therapist to address a possible underlying problem.

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Hi Natalie, so just to be clear you are saying looking down and to the left would explain the pain on the left side of my neck? – themerlinproject Apr 6 '11 at 17:29
I believe so. You are keeping those muscles contracted for an extended period of time without extending the muscle out. Over time this can actually shorten the muscle fiber which could eventually cause structural issues in your neck. – Natalie Barnett Apr 7 '11 at 0:39

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