Working from Home Doesn’t Have to be a Pain in the Neck
Does your “office” look a little different than it did a year ago?
Are you finding yourself sitting at the kitchen table, couch, or bedroom for hours on end? Is your neck feeling stiff or sore?
Now more than ever, people are finding themselves working in “offices” that are a little different than they are used to. This change in workstation or constant sitting can result in an increase in neck pain due to poor body mechanics. Sometimes after sitting for a while, you may find yourself in a “slouched” position. This will cause an increased load and compressive forces throughout the spine. Postural awareness and an ergonomically sound workstation will help to prevent excessive stress along your neck. Here are a few tips to help you get through the workday.
1. Workstation Modification
Start with Your Chair -Your Chair Impacts Your Posture
When sitting, your hips should be above your knees, your feet flat on the ground (use a step stool or textbook if your feet don’t reach the floor), your elbows at a 90 degree angle on your desk, and wrists in a neutral position.
Adjust Your Monitor – As a rule of thumb, your eyes should be in line with the top of your computer monitor. Your monitor should be an arm’s length away.
Tip: If you have bifocals, the top of monitor should be lower than eye level.
Do you have a laptop? If using a laptop, placing a stand (or a couple of books) underneath it could help to place the laptop at eye level. It may even be a good idea to purchase a wireless keyboard and mouse to ensure your elbows and wrists are in a good position.
Seated Upper Trapezius Stretch
Start by sitting in good posture. Grab the bottom of your chair while placing the other hand on the side of your head (as shown in the picture). Tilt your head away from the hand that is holding onto your head. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and perform a total of 3 times.
Begin in a standing upright position with your arms resting at your side. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and then relax them. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Begin standing in an upright position facing a corner. Place your forearms flat on the wall on each side of the corner with your elbows at shoulder height. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your chest. Hold this position for 30 seconds and perform a total of 3 times.
3. Incorporate Movement
Remember, “Motion is lotion”! Our bodies thrive on movement. When sitting all day, we tend to fall into unfavorable postural habits. Try to set an alarm on your phone that goes off once every 30 minutes to ensure that you are getting up and changing position for at least 30 seconds.
Still Having Problems?
If you find that you are still experiencing neck pain after reading these helpful tips and performing the stretches provided, Specialized Orthopedic Physical Therapy can help. Call our office at (401) 384-6490 (Warwick) or (401) 329-0050 (North Kingstown) to set up an appointment with one of our highly qualified Physical Therapists today!
Authored by Kayleigh McGregor, DPT