Working from home is a pain in the neck! (But it doesn’t have to be…)

Most people have suffered from neck pain and/or headaches at some point in their life, in fact studies have shown that at any given moment 10-20% of the population will be experiencing some degree of neck pain.
With COVID impacting many of our usual work arrangements, working from home has raised the question: what is the optimal work-from-home set up?!

Here are some key tips:
⦁ Choose a monitor, keyboard, and mouse over a laptop. This will allow you to adjust everything individually to be the most comfortable for you.
⦁ If your feet do not reach the ground, make use of a foot stool or stack some books at your feet. This will keep your feet from dangling and thus sliding your bottom forward.
⦁ Move your monitor up so that the top third of the screen is in line with your eye level when you are looking straight ahead.
⦁ Have your keyboard close enough to keep your elbows bent, and your wrists resting on the desk. You do not want to be constantly reaching forward for your keyboard or your mouse, this will likely put more resting pressure on your wrists, and round your shoulders excessively.
⦁ Lumbar rolls! If you have one, set it up to sit comfortably in the curve of your back-if not, roll up a thick towel and do the same! This will help relieve some of the pressure in the lower back.
Check out Neroli’s set up at work:

Now that you have optimized your set up, here is the big one; MOVE!! We often forget this when when working from home with no distractions.
Many studies have shown a significant positive relation between the amount of time being in a static, seated posture and neck and back pain!
To quote ergonomist Leon Straker, the best ergonomic chair is a “church bench’. Because you’ll feel so uncomfortable that you’ll have to get up after a half-hour,”

Try out these stretches:
⦁ Upper traps stretch.
Relax your shoulders down and bend your neck to the side. Aim to get your ear to your shoulder without shrugging up. Add some gradual pressure with your hand and hold for 20 sec.

⦁ Levator scapulae stretch.
Relax your shoulders down and point your nose towards your armpit. Add some gradual pressure with your hand on the same side and hold for 20 sec.

⦁ Posterior shoulder stretch.
Relax your shoulders down and cross your left arm across your chest. Lock in your elbow with your right arm and turn your body to your right. Hold for 20 sec. Repeat on the other side.

⦁ Seated rotation stretch.
Great for upper back stiffness. Plant your feet on the ground and hook your right hand on the left side of your seat. Turn your upper body to your left to look behind you without moving your bottom. Hold for 20 sec and repeat for the other side.

⦁ Chin retractions.
Sit nice and comfortably while looking straight ahead. Pull your head back as if you are making a double chin. Return to your starting position. You can use your finger to make sure you do not poke your chin out excessively. Repeat this motion 10-20 times.

By Peakhurst Physio

Caring for the whole person, not just the injury

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