The pain in the neck we’re referring to has nothing to do with the challenges of working from home.
Here at iMed Regeneration Center, Jason Keller, DC, and Patty Beecroft, MD, are worried about back and neck pain that comes from poor posture and spending too much time bending your head or slouched over while working from home.
You may not always maintain good posture at work, but there’s a good chance you’re more relaxed and paying less attention at home. Then you end up with a painful, cramped neck. Keep reading to learn why that happens and how to prevent it.
If you don’t consciously pay attention to your posture, chances are you bend your head and look down when using your electronic devices. The more you bend your head, the more pressure the weight of your head exerts on your neck.
Looking down slightly places 27 pounds of pressure on your neck. If you bend your head to look at a smartphone or monitor that’s level with your chest or gut, you could put an amazing 60 pounds of pressure on your neck.
The extra pressure quickly pulls or cramps muscles and strains your neck. The resulting neck pain and stiffness you experience is commonly called tech neck.
Working from home offers many other opportunities for straining your neck due to bad posture. For example, you may work slouched on a couch.
You’re also more likely to hold bad posture for a longer time than you might at work because you feel more relaxed. This places extra stress on your neck longer, and that’s almost guaranteed to turn into neck pain.
Good posture holds your bones in the proper alignment. And when your musculoskeletal system is aligned, the stress is spread evenly throughout your body.
When you have poor posture, one or more bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments take on more pressure than they can manage. This leads to overuse injuries, inflammation, tissue tears, and pain.
Your spine’s curves are designed to naturally distribute your weight in a way that prevents stress.
If you spend too much time sitting, or slouched in a soft chair, you alter the natural curves. This places an uneven load on your spine, forces your muscles to work harder, and leads to spinal misalignment and neck pain.
The best way to prevent neck problems is to use good posture and ergonomics. Here are three tips that will save your neck from strain and pain.
When you sit up straight, you’re practicing good posture. You simply keep your back straight, shoulders slightly back (not rolled forward), and head up, as if you’re looking straight ahead rather than down or to the side.
Maintaining good posture also means paying attention to the position of your head, arms, and hands when using a keyboard or smartphone.
A computer keyboard should be placed at a level that lets your arms hang straight down from your shoulder and allows your hands to be even with the keyboard when your elbow is bent at a right angle.
Monitors and smartphones should be positioned directly in front of you and at eye level, so you don’t need to bend your head or look down.
An ergonomic chair supports your lower back. It may also have a head piece that lets you relax your head while in an upright position. Your chair should also be adjustable so your feet are flat on the floor.
Have you found that you’re more likely to stay in one position longer while working from home? One good way to avoid tech neck is to take regular breaks.
Gently stretch, roll your head, and stand up and move. You don’t need to take a long break, but you should relax and shake out the stiffness on a regular schedule.
Standing up and moving is also great for restoring normal circulation to your legs. Sitting too long slows down blood flow and increases your risk of clots and varicose veins.
Whether you want to prevent neck pain or need help overcoming the pain, our team at iMed Regeneration in Colorado Springs, Colorado, can help. Call our office or book online today.