Working from home, a pain in the neck...
COVID-19 has had a huge impact in our physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Many of us have had to switch our routines, including working from home. With this many people have had to create an “office space” to get work done. This office space may be the kitchen table, a desk, and sitting in bed. With all of these “work spaces”, we are now forced to be in prolonged positions which our body most of the time does not have the endurance for and can cause issues in the long run. Most commonly, people who have been working from home and are sitting for long periods of time tend to develop neck pain due to poor postural awareness.
Neck pain due to poor postural awareness can lead to frequent headaches, feeling muscle tightness or heaviness in shoulders and neck region, and at times numbness in tingling into the arms. It is important to have a designated work space. In this work space an appropriate desk, monitor at eye level, chair with armrests, keyboard with a wrist resting space and a detached mouse may be options that can help. Another helpful tip may be to set up a standing work-station, since sitting may also contribute to low back pain. With prolonged sitting, people may develop a “forward head posture” or upper-cross syndrome. This could be possibly due to weakness in scapular retractors, weakness in deep neck flexors, tightness in anterior chest muscles, and tightness in the suboccipital muscles. By strengthening these weak muscles, and stretching these tight muscles frequently throughout the day may alleviate some of these symptoms.
At Premier Physical Therapy, we have the tools to help you. Our physical therapists can teach you specific strengthening exercises to target your scapular retractors and deep neck flexors to build the endurance to sustain these prolonged sitting positions; We can also teach you stretches that will help your neck and shoulder muscles feel more relaxed, and our manual therapy techniques can help you obtain optimal mobility needed. We believe in giving you the tools to be independent in order to improve your quality of life.
P.S. We have made an Instagram post with a few stretches to get you going on this, give us a follow and check it out!
- Dr. Miguel Silva, PT, DPT