2020 has been such a pain in the neck….and back!
2020 is such a pain in the neck... and back!
There are lots of positives about working from home such as longer time in bed in the mornings and avoiding that commute on the M50, however, with the good comes the bad.
With working from home ubiquitous we are seeing a rising trend in the prevalence of chronic low back and neck pain. A recent Italian study has found that workers were experiencing 50% more neck pain than before lockdown.
We are seeing more and more patients coming to clinics with chronic pain concerns as a result of improper working conditions at home. This patient demographic will continue to rise as the Dublin lockdown has the masses once again working at home wherever they can.
What's the fix?
Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all their employees even when their work is remote. Employers also required to check you are aware of any specific risks when working from home and that the temporary workspace is suitable.
But there are things you the employee can do to help combat chronic pain and ensuring your environment is ergonomic is the key.
Five handy little tips to get you started:
- If you are working from a kitchen table or desk raise the screen so that the top of the screen is just about at eye level. Laptop holders are ideal. If using a desktop just add some paper or books underneath the monitor. This will keep your head in a neutral position.
- Using a laptop? Change your position often. If you don’t have a dedicated space for work, go from kitchen table to other areas of your house. Just be careful though, using couch cushions will block the airflow from the fan in your laptop. This will increase the temperature inside the computer and cause battery to drain. Simple solution- use a ring binder on your lap instead.
- When working from a desk or table make sure your arms are as close to 90° as possible so that your hand, wrist and forearm are in a neutral position.
- Use a chair that is comfortable. I know some employees have been able to keep their office chairs and have them sent to their homes. If you are one of the unlucky ones then you will have to make do. The standard kitchen table chair is not ideal. They are designed for sitting for short periods of time, not 8 hours! Office chairs vary greatly but you don’t have to purchase one for hundreds of euros. As long as it has lumbar back support and can be height adjusted then that’s all you need.
- Move! Motion is lotion. Get up every half hour and stretch. Even if its just for 30 seconds. Your back and your joints will thank you later.
Will exercise help?
Although getting exercise, stretching and going out for a walk will help, these alone are not sufficent to combat chronic pain. We are finding that as more and more workers find themselves working from home, the longer they are spending on more concentrated hours sitting in makeshift home office spaces. This evidence is supported in a recent survey by the Irish Heart Foundation which revealed that more than half of people working from home in Ireland as a result of COVID-19 restrictions are sitting down for an average of two hours and 40 minutes longer per day.
If your suffering with any type of chronic pain please feel to reach out to us and arrange to speak with one of our experts at https://newbody.ie