Neck and Back Pain from home office setups.

August 30th, 2020
Chiropractors seeing rise in patients as workers develop neck and back pain from home office setups Whilst they closed during lockdown since reopening Chiropractors have seen a rise in clients seeking treatment for neck and back related pains amid fears that makeshift office setups are putting muscles under greater strain. Many people continue to work at home which is compounding existing conditions.

Since reopening Mark Jones at Well Adjusted Health has seen increasing number of workers who are looking for relief from problems that hat have been exaggerated by sitting on less ergonomically designed furniture while at home.

Mark comments, that he has been very busy with people in real difficulty from pain resulting from people ‘getting away from their normal office setup’. If you add anxiety and stress into the mix, we have really been inundated with calls from people in chronic pain. When working from home, you end up sitting a lot more in the same chair than you would during the day at an office. A lot more movement is involved with the commute and interactions at the office whereas at home with less distractions, we tend to be a lot more sedentary.

Check your seating position - Sit at a table, on a chair that provides good back support (dining chairs are not ideal for the long term) but if it is the only option add cushions to get as much support as possible.

Aim to sit with your knees lower than your hips - consider an angled seat cushion, lumbar cushion or possibly if space and budget allows an alternative stool/office chair will be better than a four-legged chair.

Where are your arms? - Make sure that your forearms are horizontal when typing and you have space to support the arms on the table surface, use a cushion to increase seat height if necessary. A wrist rest will ease the strain on your hands.

Your Feet - Make sure your feet are supported, on the floor or use a box/ footrest if necessary. Swap feet on the box regularly.

Laptop / Monitor height - Examine the height of your screen so that you keep your head balanced, avoid tilting your head forward to look at the screen (this adds stress to the upper back and neck) experiment by using books, magazines or reams of paper.
With your laptop raised you will need a separate keyboard and mouse. Laptop monitor stands and separate keyboards and mice are readily available.

Consider a sitting/standing desk - Alternating between sitting and standing is great for your back and the general rule is 1:1 1:2 standing versus sitting for comfort and energy levels.

Adjust your desk and screen for your height. Your desk should align with your elbows, while the top of the screen should be at eye level.

Furthermore, attaching an arm support to your desk can help with shoulder and neck problems, especially on the side of your dominant hand.

Things to definitely avoid doing:
1. Working with your laptop on your lap, on a soft chair/sofa – There is more potential for neck pain and back pain if you do this. If it is unavoidable, make sure you put a firm cushion behind your lower back and try to raise your laptop on a folder etc. to increase its height slightly.

2. Sitting at breakfast bar stools – these often do not provide good foot support or lower back support.

3. Working in bed – physically and psychologically this is not a good idea.

Exercises to prevent back pain and repetitive strain injury.
• Stand Up – Put the heel of your hands into your lower back. Draw your elbows back and down. Keeping your head and neck steady with chin tucked in, slowly arch your back and look to the ceiling.
• Side to Side Turning – Rotate your head left then right, keeping your eyes on the horizon and aiming your chin at your shoulders. Repeat three times.
• Chin Tuck – Sitting tall, imagine you are suspended from the crown by a piece of string. Keep your eyes level and tuck your chin in. Hold for five seconds and repeat three times.
• Forward Press – Gently interlock your fingers with your palms facing away from you. Press your palms away from you stretching your forearms, fingers and muscles between shoulder blades. Hold for five seconds.
• Shoulder Shrug – Keep your shoulders back and lift them towards your ears, breathing in slowly. Tighten your muscles in your shoulders and hold for five seconds. Repeat three times.
• Elbow Flare – Put your hands behind your neck, loosely grasped. Keep your head and neck tall. Squeeze below the shoulder blades and take elbows back, taking care not to press on to the neck. Hold for five seconds.

Call our team at Well Adjusted Health today for help.

If you have a specific question regarding any pain or problem areas, or would like to book a Free 15 minute consultation for you or your family please call:
Well Adjusted Health on 01903 892171.
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