Is Working From Home a Pain in Your Neck?

Is Working From Home a Pain in Your Neck?

Dr. Patrick Doherty and our team at Yale Neurosurgery New London in New London, Connecticut, specialize in diagnosing and treating painful spinal disorders that can affect your mobility and overall quality of life.

Here’s what these specialists suggest you try if your work-from-home dream job is turning out to be a significant pain in your neck.

Customize your workspace

You may be tempted to sit at the kitchen table or in a comfy recliner to get your daily work tasks done. Focus instead on appropriate ergonomics when designing your home workspace to prevent unnecessary strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.

Select a chair that’s designed for desk work, has comfortable cushioning, and supports your spinal curves.

The height should let you rest your feet flat on the floor with your knees roughly parallel to your hips. If your choice falls short, try a footrest, or exchange it for a chair with an adjustable height feature.

When choosing a desk, make sure it’s tall enough for your knees to slide under. If you’re frequently on the phone, use a headset to help prevent neck and shoulder strain.

Position the keyboard so that you don’t need to flex your wrists while typing and use armrests that support your elbows and forearms. This eases strain on your neck, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

Set your monitor at eye level so that you aren’t tipping your head down or lifting your chin up as you view the screen.

And while you’re at it, practice good sitting posture to prevent neck and upper back strain that may eventually cause long-term damage to joints, vertebrae, discs, and other structures in your spine. 

Don’t forget to take a break

Avoid the work-from-home trap of skipping breaks and lunch to get the job done. Get up from your desk periodically to stretch and give your neck and upper back muscles, eyes, and brain a break from screen work.

Schedule a lunch hour and leave your desk to enjoy your meal. If you’ve got time left, try a quick walk around the block before getting back to work.

Consider scheduling a doctor’s visit

If your symptoms persist despite these improvements to your workspace and schedule, your neck pain may be related to a structural issue in your cervical spine that requires medical attention.

This may include any of these problems:

Dr. Doherty can diagnose the cause of your pain and design a treatment strategy that may include physical therapy, medication, and other conservative therapies to relieve your discomfort.

He can also provide recommendations about your workspace ergonomics, posture, and other factors that may be affecting your spine health.

Don’t ignore neck pain that’s spoiling your work-from-home joy. Schedule an evaluation at Yale Neurosurgery New London today. 

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