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Has pain increased since working from home?

18, Feb 2021 in Education & Resources

Have you been working from home since this COVID-19 lockdown? Are you experiencing stiffness and pain in the neck and/or shoulders, does it go at times to your upper back?

A majority of our clients have been explaining that their pain has moved to a different spot. As most of you are working from home your daily movements have not been as consistent as going to work; you are not moving as usual. When you were going to the office you were getting in and out of the car, walking to the train or bus, walking from the car to the office, walking to attend meetings, walking away from your desk for morning tea and lunch and spending time going to other college’s desks. Maybe even walking at times during your lunch break. Now that you are home you are not moving as much maybe even sitting at the kitchen table on a lap top, not taking long enough breaks from your sitting position, you may be even having meetings on zoom. All these things are contributing to your everyday posture.

The following are ideas for you to help to see if you have the correct set up for home, which can assist you with reducing the pain and stiffness. Making slight changes to your set up at home can help prevent strain on your back, neck and shoulders that lead to mid back and at times lower back pain.

Your temporary desk chair is the first thing you should look at, ensuring your back is fully supported. It is recommended to use a cushion or a rolled-up towel behind your lower back if you are not sitting with your back supported, this will help you sit more up right. It may feel a little strange and uncomfortable at first. Please ensure your lower back is supported and both feet are touching the ground, (use a small stool if your feet are not on the ground) ensure both hips and knees are parallel to the floor.

The next item to look at is your computer. When you have corrected your setting position it is best to sit at your desk and look at the level that your computer is positioned at. Is the screen at your eye level? If not, you may need to raise it so that it is at eye level. If you are constantly looking down and leaning forward whilst on your computer some of your muscles will stay switched on and others will strain, this is where the pain begins and as we sit for long periods the muscles are not used and this creates the start of bar posture. Therefore, it is important to have your chair and computer set up correctly.

Phones are another contributor to our neck and shoulders, where possible if you can use a head set or earphones whilst you are on the phone, this will keep you from looking down and tightening the neck muscles especially if you are constantly on the phone.

Try some the following to help reduce your muscles from tightening up and feeling stiff when you first get up after sitting for long periods of time.

  • Take time out from sitting at your computer every 2 hours
  • Set a timer to remind you to stop for 5 minutes
  • Take the time to walk and incorporate stretches and movement of your neck, shoulders, back, hips and legs.

If you would like some ideas of some stretches that can help you, head on over to our blog Stretches to Help you Through Working From Home. This blog runs through specific stretch ideas focusing on the neck, back and shoulders.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact massage@yourbodyhub.com.au. For any further information please check out our frequently asked questions or give our friendly team a call on (03) 8578 6544. The team at Your Body Hub are here to help you revitalise and thrive naturally.

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