Fun fact: Texas ranks as the 7th best state for working from home with about 20% of jobs listed as remote. While this is a huge win for those who want to work remotely, there’s one hidden con of working remotely: neck pain.
There are many potential causes of neck pain 一 including arthritis and whiplash 一 so how do you know that working from home is causing a pain in your neck? Steven Levingston, DC, Faith Brown DC, and our team here at Premier Chiropractic created this guide to help you identify how your home office setup is contributing to neck discomfort and what changes you can make to continue working from home sans neck pain.
The Ergonomics of Working at Home
Working from home is convenient, and for many Americans, it’s a welcome change to the way we work. However, unless your home office is ergonomically set up, you may be inadvertently contributing to your neck pain.
Let’s take a look at some common habits that can contribute to neck pain:
- You work with your laptop on your lap (despite the name, laptops should be on a desk!)
- You don’t use a proper desk chair with lumbar support and adjustable height controls
- You crane down to look at your phone or tablet
- You work from your bed or couch (where it’s more difficult to use proper posture)
- You cradle your phone between your ear and shoulder
- Your arms and elbows aren’t at the right angles
- You keep your neck twisted to see your monitor while you type
These factors can contribute to a condition known as “tech neck” 一 a condition marked by tense or overly stressed muscles due to using phones, tablets, and computers.
Not focusing on ergonomics can have serious effects on the muscles that support your neck. For example, leaning your head forward to read a text puts an additional 60 pounds of pressure on your neck. Now, imagine sustaining that extra 60 pounds for an 8-hour day! It’s no wonder that tech neck can lead to neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, pinched nerves, and soreness. In addition to strained neck muscles and tight shoulders, you might see an increase in headaches, too!
Make Your Home office More Neck-friendly
Neck pain (or the related headaches) isn’t very conducive to good work performance, but the good news is that you don’t have to abandon your remote work for the sake of your neck. There are many steps you can take to make your home office more ergonomically friendly for your spine.
- Use a proper computer chair with armrests and lumbar support
- Use good posture while working at your desk: feet flat on the floor, knees bent at 90-degree angles, shoulders relaxed, and elbows at 90-degree angles
- Adjust your monitor to eye level
- Work on a desk, rather than the couch or bed
- Use a headset rather than cradling your phone on your shoulder
- Hold tablets or phones at eye-level to avoid straining your neck
- Massage your neck or use warm compresses to soothe sore muscles
Throughout the day, take breaks to stand up, stretch your neck, and walk around. Not only is this good for your neck and back, but it’s good for your overall circulation and your eyes, too.
What to do if You Still Have Neck Pain
Adopting ergonomically sound habits can help prevent neck pain in the future, but if your neck already hurts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. During your physical exam, we review your symptoms and perform orthopedic testing to assess your neck and confirm the source of your neck pain.
Depending on the results of your exam, Dr. Livingston and Dr. Brown create a customized treatment plan that may include:
- Chiropractic treatment
- Soft tissue work
- Active rehab therapies (exercises and stretches)
- Guidance on lifestyle modifications to help prevent future instances of neck pain
Call our Pearland, Texas, office or use our online form and start exploring your solutions for neck pain relief.