Is Working From Home a Pain in Your Neck?

Oct 11, 2023
Is Working From Home a Pain in Your Neck?
Practically overnight, millions of Americans went from commuters to remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re working from home and have neck pain, read on.

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people working from home in the United States tripled to more than 27.5 million thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. And many haven’t switched back to commuting to an office.

Whether you work from home because of the pandemic or you’ve long been a remote worker, there are some things we want you to bear in mind, especially if working from home has led to a pain in your neck.

When it comes to neck pain, our team here at Sunshine Spine and Pain Specialists, PLLC, led by Dr. Amanda Fernandez and Dr. Peter Fernandez, has you covered. We certainly do our part to relieve the pain, but we also want to share some tips to improve the ergonomics of your home office.

A matter of technology and space

Tech neck is nothing new — over the past century, we’ve moved away from industrial and manual jobs to ones where we’re sitting at desks and staring at screens. And the results of this transition on our collective spines haven’t been great.

For example, when you’re in a seated position and your head is looking down, the weight of your 11-pound head is amplified. The more you bend your head forward, the more pressure it places on your cervical spine — by as many as dozens of extra pounds

The effect this positioning has on your neck is significant — it unbalances the muscles and leads to strain as your cervical discs experience wear-and-tear.

While you can get tech neck at the office, it’s often worse at home, especially if you don’t have dedicated office space. Instead, you wander back and forth from the dining room table to the couch or perch on a stool in your kitchen, staring down at your phone or laptop. That not only strains your neck but your entire spine.

Tips to prevent neck pain when you work at home

The convenience of working at home is unmatched. Still, it does have its pitfalls — there’s a lot of distraction, and there's that proximity to a kitchen full of snacks. When it comes to safeguarding against neck pain, we’d like to offer a few suggestions:

Create a dedicated workspace

If you’re wandering through the house during work hours, it’s time to create an ergonomic workspace. You need a chair that supports your spine and desk where your screen is at eye level, keeping your head from bending down. Or, you can try a stand-up desk.

Stretch and move

Set a timer so you get up and move around every hour. Simply walking outside to the mailbox is a great practice, or you can also try some neck stretching exercises — hold your neck to each side for 10-30 seconds, for example.

Strengthen your neck

There’s no getting around using a computer or sitting at a desk, so we recommend some physical therapy that targets and strengthens the muscles in your neck to better support these postures.

Get help

There's nothing worse than trying to work through pain. If you’re experiencing neck pain while working from home, it’s essential that you come to see us so that we can properly diagnose the issue. Once we figure out what’s behind your discomfort, we can take steps to provide you with much-needed relief.

For more information about solutions for neck pain and tech neck, please schedule an appointment at our office in Sarasota, Florida. You can call 941-867-7463 or use our online booking form.