Working from home has its perks—no commute, flexible hours, and (usually) no office distractions. But it can also be a pain in the neck—literally. If you work at a desk all day, you’re probably familiar with the aches and pains that come with it. But when you add in the fact that you’re not sitting in a ergonomically designed chair or at a height that’s ideal for your body, it’s no wonder your neck is killing you by the end of the day.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid neck pain while working from home:
1. Make sure your chair is at the right height.
If your chair is too low, your hips will be higher than your knees, putting strain on your back. If it’s too high, your feet might not touch the ground, which can cause pain in your legs and back. The best way to find the right height is to sit in your chair and have someone measure the distance from your hip to the ground. The ideal height is when your feet are flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the ground.
2. Use a pillow or lumbar support.
If you’re sitting in a chair that doesn’t have good back support, use a pillow or lumbar support to help maintain the natural curve in your spine. Place the pillow or support in the small of your back so that it doesn’t put pressure on your spine.
3. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
If you’re hunched over your keyboard or constantly reaching for your mouse, your shoulders are likely to get tense. To avoid this, keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body.
4. Take breaks.
Sitting in the same position for hours at a time is bound to cause pain. To avoid this, take a break every 20 minutes or so to walk around or stretch.
5. Use ice or heat.
If you’re already dealing with neck pain, ice can help reduce inflammation. Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. If you prefer heat, use a heating pad on a low setting.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to avoid neck pain while working from home. But if the pain persists, it’s best to see a doctor or physical therapist to find the underlying cause.
About Michael Jones
Michael Jones, CErg. He's an Ergonomist and Speaker with 15 years of experience helping desk workers who are hunched over their computers and phone for hours, reverse their slouched posture and end text neck pain.