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Keeping pain free when working from home

With Covid-19 causing havoc around the world, the majority of people who have the ability to work from home are now doing so. Some of you may be enjoying the change - others not so much. However, this change presents itself with a new challenge - lack of movement.

When you're working from home, you're much less likely to get up and move around - there's no need to catch up with your colleagues at the end of the office when you're the only one there! Additionally, when you were at work you may have been leaving the office to go and buy lunch, which is much less likely now. This reduction in movement day to day can result in a buildup of stiffness over time, leading to discomfort and pain, particularly in the neck and back.

Another issue may be your desk and chair setup. It's unlikely that you have the same setup at home to at work, and this change in position may put you at an increased risk of neck, back, wrist and shoulder pain.

So what can be done about this?

  1. Have a look at your desk and chair setup. Your computer screen should be set so that your
    eyes line up with the top of your computer screen - this is so your neck is kept in a neutral
    position. Your arms should be positioned such that your upper arms are by your side, with your
    elbows at 90 degrees. When your feet are flat on the floor, there should also be a 90 degree
    angle at your knees.
  2. Every 30-60 minutes, get up and walk a lap or two around the house, or even around your
    backyard. This will help increase blood flow throughout your body, particularly through your legs
    and lower back.
  3. As mentioned, your neck and back are vulnerable areas for stiffness when seated for long
    periods. Whilst sitting, performing some rotations through your upper back to the left and right,
    and also doing some gentle extensions over the back of your chair will be useful to loosen up
    your upper back, inturn assisting your head and neck position. These exercises can be used
    when feeling stiff or in pain, or as a preventitive measure. Try to perform these two exercises for
    10-15 repetitions each, at least 3 times per day. However, if you find these exercises cause an
    increase in your level of pain, we advise you not to continue performing them.

    These simple recommendations should help in keeping you pain free and moving well, not just
    when working from home, but when you eventually return to work. And if you're still in pain, or
    have any questions, come see one of our helpful physiotherapists for treatment and advice.