When Remote Work is a Literal Pain in the Neck or Back

It is easy to accidentally spend the entire day curled over your laptop, typing away at your latest documentation manifesto. Or to have a million stressful chats, emails, and phone calls which leave your shoulders up by your ears. Your body will yell at you when you do these things. Here’s some tips on keeping the back, shoulder, and neck pain at bay.

Improve your office ergonomics. Are you craning your neck to look at your monitor? Take some time to reconfigure your desk so that your computer and keyboard are at the proper levels for your body. Check out these two links if you need help.

Take stretch breaks. The joy of working from home is that no one can see you when you get up from your desk and roll around on the floor between conference calls. So go ahead and downward dog as a reward for slogging through your email inbox.

Use a foam roller. If your upper back is tense, that can impact both our lower back and your neck. To tide you over until you feel comfortable getting a massage, get a foam roller and massage your upper back as shown in this video from the Mayo Clinic.

Identify what makes you tense so you can take evasive action. Maybe it’s when your boss chats you. Or maybe it’s after you present at the weekly meeting. Pay attention to when your body yells at you. Then schedule some reminders to stretch and take breaks BEFORE you start hurting.

Take a lunch break, preferably a walk. Just stepping away from your computer will help your neck and eyes. But taking a walk… maybe you wear a step counter and have noticed that working remotely makes it really easy to beat your lowest score. All that inactivity can begin to take its toll on your body, including your back. The more you can get moving during the day, the less your back will yell at you.

Consider some ab exercises. If you’re like me and your workout routine turned nearly non-existent at some unidentified point during the pandemic, then it could be that your back’s hurting because it doesn’t have the support of your six pack, four pack, or two pack anymore.

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