How to Prevent Neck Pain While Working from Home

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How to Prevent Neck Pain While Working from Home

The trend toward working at home some or all of the time continues to climb, as does the incidence of neck pain, typically from improvised home offices and poor ergonomic conditions. Here’s how you can prevent neck pain.

The trend toward working at home or in an at-home/in-office hybrid continues to climb. Over twice as many people work in hybrid environments compared with those doing their jobs exclusively at home.

The move away from full-time at the office continues, and with it grows the incidence of neck pain, typically from improvised home offices and poor ergonomic conditions.

Makeshift dining room workspaces no longer suffice for those expecting to work at home full- or part-time. Long hours of sitting require thought and attention to body mechanics and movement to maintain balance and posture. Ignoring these often leads to neck pain. 

We see this often at Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management in West Des Moines and East Des Moines, Iowa. Postural problems can arise from any work situation where you hold a single position for long periods.

The difference usually comes down to a company spending time and dollars on ergonomics, while those working from home may not take the same care to optimize their workstations. 

You can, however, take charge of your home office and, with a few small changes, reduce your risk of neck pain. We’ve prepared a few talking points for you to consider. 

Neutralize your posture

Proper posture is more than simply sitting up straight. In fact, the best position for your spine is leaning back slightly. From the ground up: 

  • Have your feet on the ground or on a foot support if necessary
  • Bend your knees 90 degrees so the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Press your lower back against the chair’s lumbar support or a strategically placed pillow
  • Sit with your shoulders back and your chin up and a hip angle of 90 to 135 degrees

Using a standing desk is a healthful alternative. Stand straight with your feet set at shoulder width with knees straight but not locked, shoulders back and chin up. You should feel balanced and stable in the correct standing posture. 

Monitor height

While posture addresses the foundation upon which your entire body depends, optimizing your monitor height may provide the greatest neck pain prevention value.

Working on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone forces your head forward and down. Work in this position too often and neck pain is all but guaranteed. 

From a position of neutral posture, your monitor should be at or slightly below eye height without tipping your head forward. Boost your monitor with a stand or books, and consider an accessory monitor if you must use a laptop. 

Have a movement plan

Devise a plan to break up the amount of continuous time spent in one position. You can stand and stretch every 20 minutes or take a longer break with short walks every hour.

The important part is adding movement to your workday. Set a timer and follow every alarm. Motion is often the answer to your neck pain issues. 

Late nights and short deadlines often derail the most well-intentioned plans. If neck pain develops, visit Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management, the neck pain specialists, for effective and fast treatment. Call or click to book an appointment with our nearest office today.