Your neck doesn’t have the same level of support as the other areas of your spine. While it supports your head, it’s also prone to neck pain due to the strains of sitting in a single position for hours at a time. People who work from home are especially at risk because of makeshift home offices, which many individuals had to set up without warning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re among the roughly 34% of former commuting employees who now work from home, and you experience neck pain as a result, regenerative medicine specialist Glenn M. Flanagan, MD, can evaluate the structures of your neck here at our comfortable Naples Regenerative Institute office in Naples, Florida.
Here’s why working from home can lead to neck pain and what you can do to improve it:
Poor ergonomics of working from home
You may enjoy working from home because you get to look out of your own window, access your kitchen for lunch, and of course, avoid risking infection by working in close quarters with other people. Yet, your home office (or lack thereof) probably doesn’t take much consideration into its design in terms of ergonomics.
Ergonomics refers to how well you sit or stand supports your body’s needs. If you work from your couch all day or hunch over the counter on a barstool, these positions can place strain on the neck and can even lead to nerve compression.
The injuries due to working from home
When you sit hunched over a computer or in any position with poor posture, you put yourself at risk for neck injuries that cause pain. That is especially the case if you work on the computer full time.
Tech neck, a type of neck pain that gets its name due to its origin of sitting over the computer all day, develops because of the stress that sitting over a screen places on your neck and shoulders. Your neck needs to hold the weight of your head, and the muscles in your neck and upper back must continuously contract to do so. Tech neck can cause other symptoms, too, such as frequent headaches and shoulder stiffness.
If you don’t find a way to manage your neck pain and stop it from getting worse, the strain can place pressure on the discs in your spine and cause premature degeneration.
What you can do
While you’ve probably heard that sitting up with a straight back prevents neck pain and strain, that is not the best position you can put yourself in while working from home or in any setting. Instead, find an office chair that reclines so you can lean back by around 25-30 degrees and relax your neck as you work.
You can also ward off neck pain while working at home by:
- Putting your computer screen at eye level
- Stand up regularly throughout the day or invest in a standing desk
- Make sure you have adequate lighting in your workspace to avoid craning your neck
- Get regular exercise outside of work
If you struggle to manage your neck pain or if it seems to be getting worse despite your best efforts at managing it, plenty of regenerative treatment options can help the strained muscles and ligaments heal.
If you’re interested in considering regenerative care for work-from-home neck pain, schedule an appointment at Naples Regenerative Institute over the phone or online right away.