Homeworking environments tend to be entirely different to the working office. Not everyone has a dedicated room or space to work, so sometimes we make do with the furniture we have, unaware this may contribute to pain and discomfort. Reasons may include poor posture, unsuitable equipment or furniture design, workstation arrangements, working environment and duration of work and tasks involved.
Extended use on a computer or tablet can mean spending more time in an uncomfortable position, commonly resulting in lower back, neck or arm pain. One such position is when you bend your neck to look down at your electronic device. Our muscles, ligaments and tendons usually play a perfect role in supporting the head; however, dramatically tilting the neck down can mean less or no support, adding much force to the neck. Each additional degree you bend your neck is like adding weights to your head, which already weighs around 5kg. A neck injury caused in this manner is so common that it is sometimes referred to as ‘tech neck’. In essence, this is repetitive strain injury to the muscles and other tissue structures of the neck.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 20% of us experienced neck pain within the past three months.
With that in mind, here are some performance for work tips to help you:
1 – Pay attention to your posture
Having an awareness of your posture can help you avoid ‘tech neck’ in the first place. Remember to stand or sit up straight with your head centered over your neck, rather than being extended forward or pulled back.
2 – Avoid hunching over
It can be common to see people slouching, even slightly, on their desks or at a table, unaware of what damage this can cause to their bodies. Slouching can lead to nerve irritation causing chronic pain. Too much strain on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments can gradually even move your vertebrae out of alignment. This is a compelling reason to be aware of your shoulders’ position so that you avoid hunching over, even slightly.
3 – Stop looking down at your phone
Instead of holding your phone down near your chest, consider raising it to eye level. Making this adjustment can lessen the amount of weight your neck must bear.
4 – Raise your Monitor screen
When a monitor is located too high or your seat is too low, this will put extra strain on your neck. Make adjustments so that the top of the screen is at or slightly below your eye level. A good position for viewing your monitor is when your eyes look slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen.
5 – Keep your distance
Position your monitor at least 20 inches (51 cm) from your eyes—about an arm’s length away. If you have a large screen, you may need more viewing distance.
6 – Take breaks from technology
Sitting or staring at a screen may well be part of your job. But remember to take a break around each hour or so. Ideally, it would be good to do a few exercises. (Even subtle ones at your desk will help.) If possible, stand and stretch your arms, hands, and neck. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, roll your shoulders back, and shrug with one shoulder at a time.
Working from home can be a great option for many people. But, it’s important to take care of yourself to make sure you stay healthy and productive. If you think you may have posture problems, or maybe you are suffering from pain when working, contact us to find out how osteopathy treatment could help you.