With the modern-day lifestyle revolving around sitting in a chair hunched over a computer or laptop, it’s no wonder that neck pain is becoming one of the most prevalent problems in the Western world. 

If you get neck pain and headaches and work from home, you should take a minute to consider your home setup. Failing to sit properly could lead to chronic neck and shoulder pain and headaches that never seem to go away, even when you’re not working. 

If you are sitting in a makeshift desk or kitchen table, or sitting in bed or on the couch with your laptop awkwardly on your knees, you may be in a bad position for your neck.   A forward head posture (FHP) places more stress on the muscles of the neck.  Your head going forward only one inch will cause your efective head weight to be more than double.  

This stress can change your posture and lead to ongoing pains and aches in the upper body.  It’s always important to take more care and consideration when deciding on your workstation setup. Doing so can improve your posture and reduce neck pain by relieving tension in the upper body muscles. 

This will reduce stress to help you reduce the possibility of neck problems in the future, and improve the outcomes of your chiropractic care.  

Setting Up Your Workstation At Home

The nice thing about working from home is that you can create your perfect setup.  This will improve your productivity and help you do a better job.  Imagine if the thought of your neck pain and uncomfortable chair disappeared and you could just focus on your work.

The first step is the chair.  I am only going to recommend the best.  This is why I recommend the Herman Miller Cosm chair.  No, it isn't cheap.  Unfortunately I don't have a video review as I promised 2 years ago, but the fact I am still recommending this chair should say something.  I have two in my home office, as well as two Herman Miller Aerons in my chiropractic office in Port Moody.  The mesh seating provides air flow, and the Cosm is really a beautiful feat of engineering.  

The next step when creating a great workstation at home is to consider the level of your screen. The top of the screen should be at eye level so you aren’t having to lower your head at an angle.  Consider how you can position your monitor so that it is at the perfect height for your head and eyes.  If you can't raise the screen, tilt it upwards so it is facing your eyes while sitting upright.  .

If you wear progressive lenses, you may find yourself tilting your chin up to read the screen.  Not only does this stress the muscles of the upper neck and create headaches, it looks very strange on your video calls.  If this is the case you will need to adjust the distance or height of the screen to minimize that behaviour.  

Whatever position your monitor is in, angle the monitor so the top of the screen is pointed at your forehead.

Laptops have their advantages

If you have a laptop angle the screen upward so you can see the screen clearly when you angle your eyes downward.  If you are using progressive reading glasses, the laptop is actually ideal.  Looking down at the screen will bring the screen in focus with your head in an upright posture.  Otherwise, simply look down your nose at the screen.  

Laptops are the most versatile setup.  You can use this to your advantage by having multiple work spaces.  A kitchen counter or bar may be the ideal height for a standing desk.  Sitting in a recliner with a laptop on your lap can help you during times when you are reading and scrolling for hours.  You can also take a laptop outside on your deck or to a picnic table in the park for creative inspiration and some sun.  

Have open space on your desk

Having open space on your desk not only unclutters the mind, it can relieve the neck and shoulders.  Create enough space on your desk that you can lean forward and rest your elbows and forearms on the desk while using your mouse.  I call this "position 2."  If you are spending a long time at the desk, it may be nice to change positions.  

Ditch the Computer for a While

Yes you heard me.  Maybe you can't ditch it 100%, but if some of your activity is not on a computer, you can set up multiple areas to do multiple tasks.  For example, I recently designed my email program on a notepad with a pencil.  I was able to walk around the house and sketch the code more easily than on my laptop.  

I also have a white board that is completely dedicated to the low back pain prevention class I am currently writing.  A white board allows me to stand up, erase, and take a few staps back and look at the whole course outline.  

We are here to help you

Take a look at your work space today and follow these tips to reduce risk of strain, you won't regret it. And if you find you are experiencing pain in your neck and back, get in touch with our office. We will take the time to determine the cause of your symptoms and provide the appropriate treatment so you can start feeling better right away.

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

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