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What to Do When Working From Home Becomes a Pain in Your Neck

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What to Do When Working From Home Becomes a Pain in Your Neck

Neck pain is common, with some data estimating that as many as 80% of people will experience it at some point during their lives. About 50% of people experience some degree of neck pain every year.

Neck pain is also responsible for a surprising amount of workplace absenteeism, but working from home doesn’t mean you’re immune from work-related neck pain. Depending on your home office setup, you could have just as much neck pain or more than working in a traditional office setting.

In this post, Josue Maysonet, DC, and the team at Kerinver Chiropractic offer a list of tips to help you modify your workspace and work habits to decrease your risk of painful neck symptoms.

Use a proper work surface

Sure, it might be tempting to curl up in a favorite chair and balance your laptop on your legs while you work — but not having a dedicated work surface is practically a prescription for neck and shoulder pain. 

Instead, skip your lap (and your dining room table) and invest in a desk, table, or other hard, supportive work surface to hold your laptop, keyboard, and monitor. A surface designed for work also supports good posture, and that’s important for keeping neck, back, shoulder, and even wrist pain at bay.

Upgrade your chair

A good chair is just as critical as a good desk. Look for a chair that supports your entire spine and a headrest that lets you relieve strain throughout the day. Pair your chair with your work surface and adjust the chair height to use your keyboard without leaning in or holding your arms at an odd angle.

Use ample lighting

Forget about that cool midcentury modern lamp you found at the thrift store. Buy a lamp suited for task lighting so you don't crane your neck forward to read documents or see your keyboard and screen. Position the light so it falls on the work surface and not in your eyes.

Adjust your keyboard height

Try to position your keyboard so that your forearms are parallel to the floor when you’re typing. Place your monitor so the screen is at eye level, and if you use your phone a lot, consider a headset to avoid cradling your phone with your neck or leaning toward your phone’s speaker.

Take regular breaks

Working from home means you can tweak your schedule to accommodate mini-breaks — for instance, 3-5 minutes every half hour to stand up, walk in place, and do a few neck rolls or other neck exercises. Regular breaks relieve muscle tension that can otherwise lead to chronic pain.

Use heat and ice

If you’re already experiencing neck pain or stiffness, alternating a heating pad with an ice pack helps relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation that leads to pain. You can also take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines (ibuprofen or acetaminophen) to reduce inflammation and pain. 

Schedule an office visit

Finally, one of the most important things you can do to prevent serious neck problems is to schedule an office visit at the first sign of symptoms. Dr. Maysonet performs a comprehensive evaluation of your pain, providing care and treatment recommendations based on your medical needs, lifestyle, and workplace challenges to help relieve pain and avoid complications.

Protect your neck

Working from home offers plenty of benefits, but you still need to take extra care to protect your health and avoid problems that can lead to chronic pain. To learn how we can help you relieve neck pain and prevent more complications, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Kerinver Chiropractic in Kissimmee and Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida, today.