Pain relief tips for remote workers
Working from home means a lot of sitting around, often in uncomfortable positions that can do a number on your spine.
If you find that you’re ending — or starting — your days with a sore neck or back pain, make a few changes in your routine to get rid of the pain.
Set your screen at eye level
Because you’re sitting in the same position day after day, you can set up your workspace to avoid awkward neck and back postures, says orthopedic spine surgeon Nima Salari with Desert Institute for Spine Care. One action that makes a big difference is to keep your computer screen at eye level.
“If your screen is too low, you’ll find yourself tilting your head forward to view the monitor (a common cause of neck pain),” according to Healthy Computing. “If it’s too high, you may have to tilt your head back, leading to neck and shoulder pain — and increasing the likelihood of glare from overhead lights (a common cause of headaches).”
Stand up and stretch
In addition to maintaining good posture when you’re sitting, you should give your back a break by frequently standing and moving around.
If you have been working from home, your current office set up may not have the appropriate ergonomics. It is encouraged to take a 10 min positional break or adjustment every hour. Additionally, it is encouraged to have a firm lumbar support. This could be a firm pillow, a rolled towel or something purchased online. Lastly, before starting your day, on your lunch as well as at the conclusion of your work day, it is recommended to take 5 min to stretch your back, elbows, wrists and shoulders to ensure these major postural muscles get the attention they need to keep you functioning fat your very best, says orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Abrams with Desert Institute for Spine Care.
“Advocates of standing desks point to studies showing that after a meal, blood sugar levels return to normal faster on days a person spends more time standing,” according to Harvard Health Publishing. “And standing, rather than sitting, may reduce the risk of shoulder and back pain.”
Whenever possible, move around when watching a screen, including while working at your computer or watching TV, says orthopedic spine surgeon Justin Field with DISC. Instead of sitting, you can condition your core, and even do light exercises.
This could include moving while sitting or standing for a moment to do a quick exercise, as recommended by WebMD:
- Do jumping jacks.
- Run in place.
- While sitting, pump your arms above your head and rapidly tap your feet.
- Squat while waiting for a page to load.
- Do pushups with your hands on your desk.
- Sit up straight and try to touch your shoulder blades together.
- Do kegels.
- Clench your butt cheeks.
Holding a phone up with your arm or cradling it between your head and neck can affect your neck, shoulders, and arms.
“Cell phone use can cause you to arch your neck and hold your body in an uncomfortable posture,” according to Health Central. “Long periods of time in an awkward position holding your cell phone can lead to back pain.”
Instead, set up your phone for hands-free use by, for example, using Bluetooth headphones or turning on your speakerphone.
If you have ongoing pain, it’s important to deal with it before it becomes a serious issue. Start with a personalized pain diagnostic at Desert Institute for Spine Care to define your specific problem and apply the latest technology, with five steps: investigation, examination, explanation, discussion, and decision.
“During this visit and throughout the diagnostic and treatment processes, our ideas about your pain are explained clearly, honestly and realistically, every step of the way,” DISC says. “You get all the facts, so you can make an informed decision — and be at ease with your personalized treatment plan.”
DISC is known for its minimally invasive surgical solutions that treat a variety of spine conditions, including herniated discs, sciatica, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease. DISC wants to help you restore your lifestyle, so you can enjoy life again. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit sciatica.com.