We’ve all seen a lot of changes over the past few years, including an increase in people working from home. Unfortunately, whether you love this new setup or not, it’s also led to a rise in neck and back pain. But why?
At Metro Pain Centers, our team regularly sees people complaining of shoulder pain, neck and back pain, and even overuse injuries from repetitive strain. What do they all have in common? Remote work. If this sounds familiar, here’s why working from home could be causing your symptoms.
Do you work from your kitchen table? How about while lounging more comfortably on your couch or bed? These setups may work from time to time, but they can cause problems over the long run.
When you go to the office, your workstation often has ergonomics in mind. That means your desk, chair, and computer meet certain alignment standards so you can work while maintaining proper posture. However, this often isn’t the case when people work from home, leading to poor posture.
Do you ever have someone nagging you as a youngster to sit up straight? They knew what they were talking about. Poor posture throws off muscle balance in your body, causing you to overuse some and underuse others.
This imbalance increases your risk of:
Over time, poor posture can also lead to degenerative changes in the cervical spine, including arthritis and pinched nerves.
Even if you can’t create a professional office setting in the comfort of your own home, you can still safeguard your joints and muscles.
First, you need a solid foundation for your body to have good posture and alignment. Whenever possible, choose a firm chair and work at a table or desk.
When sitting, your:
Also, keep your head in line with your body — not thrust forward or hunched closer to your computer screen.
Whether your workstation is a desk, kitchen table, or TV tray, your monitor needs to be at eye-level. Most adult heads weigh between 10-12 pounds, which your neck can easily manage in a neutral position. However, when the head bends forward out of alignment, it puts 50-60 pounds of strain on the neck.
Spend a lot of time on your phone? It’s time to buy a headset, earbuds, or speakerphone. Using hands-free solutions on calls keeps your neck in proper alignment and avoids unnatural positions, like head tilting or holding your phone between your shoulder and neck.
In addition to less than ideal workstation set up, people often spend more time sitting when working remotely as well.
In an ideal world, you should take breaks from sitting at least every 30 minutes for 1-2 minutes — even if you’re practicing proper posture and body mechanics. Whether you stand and stretch in place or do some vigorous exercise to get your heart pumping, moving your body regularly gives your muscles a break and minimizes eye strain at the same time.
Do you have body aches or pains from working from home? Schedule an appointment with one of our pain management specialists to find relief by calling or booking a visit online today.