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Intel Syndrome

Neck, shoulder and arm pain is one of the most common conditions seen by acupuncturists, at least in my offices. In Columbia County these problems often tend to result from automobile or work related accidents, sports injuries and osteo-arthritis. In Hillsboro, where I get many workmen’s comp referrals from Intel, they  frequently  result from the hi tech work environment. Since many Columbia County residents commute to high tech jobs in Hillsboro and Beaverton, this problem can plague local folks as well.

Upper body problems suffered by high tech engineers, managers and others  manifest the same symptoms as problems experienced by workers in more physically demanding professions such as carpenters  and carpet or tile installers, where day in and day out repeated movements eventually lead to potentially disabling pain and reduced flexibility. The IT professionals, however, while not exposed to heavy lifting or dangerous physically demanding activities, seem to me to live and work in a sort of perfect storm of conditions for developing disabling symptoms.

Most of these patients report a very similar work day experience. Often confined to a cubicle, they sit for hours on end hunched over their desk, neck projecting forward and chest compressed,  glaring onto a screen, clicking and surfing with keyboard and mouse. While supposedly required to take periodic breaks, they typically ignore the messages and plow ahead with their current project. They claim that they are just too busy and on deadline.  Lastly, to this package of poor posture, repetitive movements, no breaks or stretching tight muscles,  add tremendous stress. Time stress, performance stress, interpersonal relationships and so on. Who is going to be fired in this week’s round of job cuts?

Put all this together and we have stiff, tight, sore necks, shoulders and upper backs, headaches, aching hands, joints and muscles, insomnia and more.

Chinese medicine to the rescue! Acupuncturists offer much more than just pain killers, muscle relaxers and anti-depressants. Needles, herbs supplements, infra-red heat, ‘gua sha’ and cupping and magnets can work together to effectively  reduce pain and tension, relieve stress and improve sleep disodrders,  improving lives for overworked high tech workers suffering from the Intel Syndrome.

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