Even before social distancing and stay-at-home orders, neck pain was a significant problem. But now that we are spending the majority of our time at home, more and more people are experiencing discomfort from their neck and back. Though this is clearly a result of trying to adopt work activities to a home environment, it does not mean that pain is inevitable.
Just as we’ve all had to adjust to working from home, we need to make adjustments to the way that we are physically performing our duties in order to protect our bodies from additional physical stress.
Working at Your Desk
If you need a picture of what you should look like when you’re sitting at your desk, think back to your school days, where you sat at a desk and looked straight ahead at the teacher and the chalkboard at the front of the room. Though you may have leaned down and looked down as you were completing work or taking a test, the vast majority of your time spent learning saw you with your back straight and head held high. That should be the model for your work too.
Your feet should be flat on the ground with your bottom pushed to the back of the chair and your lower back supported by the chair itself, and possibly supplemented by a small pillow. Your keyboard should be positioned in a way that allows your arms to rest with elbows slightly bent and arms extended slightly in front of you and your monitor should be in a straight line with your eyes if possible. This may be a challenge with a laptop, and if you find yourself experiencing neck pain you may want to invest in a separate keyboard.
Be sure to take the time to get up and walk away from your work every once in a while. If you have to be on the phone, try doing so while standing. If you find it hard to remember to take a break, set an alarm for yourself and when it goes off, stretch your entire body and take a five-minute walk, even if it is just taking laps around your home or a walk down the hallway of your apartment building.
Depending upon your normal work conditions, you may have used a headset at your office for phone calls, or perhaps you didn’t spend as much time on the phone as you are now that you’re working from home. One way or another, trying to cradle a phone between your ear and your shoulder is a recipe for disaster. Invest in a headset that you can either plug into your landline phone or that can be hooked up to your smartphone. You will find that this small investment makes an enormous difference in your comfort.
If taking these steps doesn’t ease your pain, you may need interventions from our cervical spine specialists in New Jersey. Contact us today to learn how we can help.