Is working from home a pain in the neck….and back?

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(WTRF) – From the kitchen table to even the couch, mobile offices have popped up all over the house. 

But, if you’ve been working from home, are you noticing some new back and neck pain?

The good news is, there could be a simple fix. 

The longer the time you have these bad postural habits, the harder it is to correct them, and the longer your pain can last.

Chris Mercer, Director of Rehabilitation, WVU medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital

There’s a quick fix to prevent a potentially lasting problem, and that’s setting up a proper workstation. 

Start with a chair with lumbar support. 

If your chair does not have good lumbar support, you can create that by using a cushion behind your back, or you can roll up a towel and put it behind your back and that gives you a more upright posture.

Chris Mercer, Director of Rehabilitation, WVU medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital

Keep your feet flat on the floor and make sure your computer screen is at eye level, so you aren’t straining your neck. 

If your computer screen is too low, you can always use boxes or books to put them under the screen to bring it up to that optimum level.

Chris Mercer, Director of Rehabilitation, WVU medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital

How much you stare at that computer could also cause problems, so try getting up and stretching about every half hour if you can.

 The longer your eyes are on the computer, the more it can lead to eye strain, and in turn that leads to more headaches. 

Chris Mercer, Director of Rehabilitation, WVU medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital

These problems aren’t just in adults. Parents, you want to make sure your kids have a proper set-up as well while learning from home. They should be sitting straight with their feet touching the floor.

 A lot of the children I’ve talked to; they’re actually doing a lot of their homework on their bed. If you have your laptop on your bed you’re hunched over and you’re in a really bad position for your neck and back. 

Chris Mercer, Director of Rehabilitation, WVU medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital

Watch out for the extra time on cell phones, tablets and other hand-held devices. Instead try out the voice recognition software when texting or typing to help avoid problems like carpel tunnel syndrome. 

Even before the pandemic this was an issue and kids were on these devices even more now, so it’s even more important to stress this to your kids.

Chris Mercer, Director of Rehabilitation, WVU medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital

What you do at the end of your workday is also important. The more physically fit and active you are, the better chance you have of avoiding that neck and back pain.

So, Mercer recommends some type of exercise at the end of the day, even if it’s just a walk. Plus, it’s good for your mental health.

If the neck and back pain lasts longer than a week or two, that’s when Mercer said it’s time to see a doctor.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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