Working from home comes with a lot of perks: spending the day in casual clothes, setting up your workspace the way you want it, and the shortest commute on record. It can come with some downsides, too. For lots of people, one of the biggest “negatives” in their work-from-home routine is increased pain in the neck and shoulders.
The good news: At Easy Reach Chiropractic, Barbara Adonis, DC, and Heather Previll, PT, DPT, can help you get the most from your work-from-home routine, without suffering from nagging neck pain. Here’s what they want patients at their offices in Lake Worth and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to know.
Neck pain is pretty common. Every year, about a third of American men and women suffer from neck pain, and about 70% will have neck pain that interferes with their daily routines at some point during their lifetimes.
Lots of issues can cause neck pain, but when it’s related to work, it’s usually associated with strained muscles and irritated ligaments, tendons, and joints. In a work-from-home setting, neck strain is common because most home offices aren’t set up for long-term activity.
In fact, plenty of people use makeshift offices in their bedrooms, dining rooms, or kitchens. Most of these setups don’t provide your neck and back with proper support, leading to bending forward or hunching over for long periods of time.
Fortunately, all it takes is a little time and effort to relieve neck pain and prevent it from recurring. The key is to make changes now, before a little nagging discomfort becomes a major pain in the neck.
Most work-from-home neck pain can be eliminated and avoided by setting up your office so it provides proper support for your neck — and your entire spine.
If you’re using your lap, a countertop, or your bed as your makeshift desk, that’s one habit you need to correct right away. A proper desk enables you to align your neck, shoulders, and arms in a way that relieves extra strain on your muscles and joints. That’s good for your neck, your shoulders, and your wrists, too.
The lure of that big, comfy chair or snuggly bed might be hard to resist, but if you don’t use a proper chair, you won’t be giving your spine the support it needs, and that can lead to pain. Choosing a chair with a headrest, lumbar support, and adjustable height can help, too.
Ideally, you want your monitor to be at your eye level, or as close to it as possible, to avoid straining your neck. If you use your phone a lot, investing in a good set of earbuds avoids cradling your phone with your neck and chin.
Working from home means you can work in frequent breaks without anyone being the wiser. Take advantage of that option to stand up, walk around, and stretch your neck (and the rest of your body) every 30 minutes or so. These exercises are good for preventing strain in your neck and your shoulders.
If you’re already dealing with neck pain, you can try taking an over-the-counter medicine designed to treat both inflammation and pain. A heating pad alternated with a cold compress or ice pack may help, too.
One more tip: Schedule an office visit at the first sign of neck pain. Delaying evaluation and treatment can quickly lead to worse symptoms and more complex treatment.
To learn what else you can do to avoid work-from-home neck pain — and how we can help — book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Easy Reach Chiropractic today.