In the past two years since the COVID-19 pandemic first struck, almost 60% of those who can work from home have made the switch and now work most of the time remotely. This sudden and dramatic shift to remote work has been a welcome one for many, as they’re able to enjoy the comforts of their own home and avoid commuting. Unfortunately, it has also been a great source of neck pain as workers try to figure out their home offices.
If you’ve joined the remote revolution, but you’re now experiencing neck pain in the form of tech neck, we can help. The team of spine health experts here at Texas Spine Consultants, including Michael Hennessy, MD, Robert Viere, MD, Andrew Park, MD, Chester Donnally, MD, and Heidi Lee, MD, want to use this month’s blog post to outline a few tips that will relieve that pain in your neck.
The pandemic hit suddenly, sending millions of people to sequester safely in their homes, including workers and students. This meant that families scrambled to find adequate work space for everyone, enlisting living rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms in the process.
If you spent much of the pandemic perched on a couch or seated in an uncomfortable chair at the dining room table, you likely weren’t doing your spine any favors.
Now that you’ve opted to continue to work at home (and the kids are largely back at school), it’s time to carve out a dedicated work space that better suits long hours at a computer or desk. Whether it’s a corner of a little-used room or you finally get the home office to yourself again, it’s time to, “head to the office” again.
There are several ways to make your workspace more spine friendly, starting with investing in a good office chair that provides ample support for your back.
Next, and most important for your cervical spine (your neck), make sure you have an area where you can place your computer at eye level so you’re not staring down at a screen in your lap (we know it’s called a laptop, but this position is terrible for your neck). Even if you have to use books to elevate your screen, you want your eyes to be looking straight ahead.
If you work with documents quite a bit, you can also invest in a vertical document holder, so you don’t have to look down on your desk.
While you may not have a company cooler to go to for breaks, you should still find the time to get up from your desk every hour and move around. Whether you walk out to your mailbox, or better, perform a few stretching exercises for your back, these breaks are great practice for your neck. For some great exercise ideas for your neck, click here.
While keeping your head up while you work is paramount, don’t forget the rest of your spine. Bad posture in your back can very much strain your neck and lead to discomfort. When you’re sitting at your desk, keep both feet flat on the floor, your shoulders back, and your back straight and firmly up against the back of your chair.
If you follow the tips above, you can greatly alleviate the strain in your neck and make your workday at home far more pleasant. If you have more questions about avoiding tech neck at home, please contact one of our offices in Addison or Plano, Texas, to set up an appointment.