There’s no doubt that COVID has reshaped the American workforce. Although the pandemic forced many into working remotely, nearly 59% of Americans continue to work from home even two years in.
Working from home reduces commute time and transportation costs and promotes social distancing for health purposes, but it’s led to an increase in one particular health concern: a sore neck. If your home office isn’t equipped with an ergonomically correct workspace, you might be dealing with a stiff neck and tense shoulders.
If you’re dealing with muscle tension in your neck and shoulders, PRP therapy can reduce inflammation in your muscles and help you get back to your work sans the pain in your neck.
In the meantime, here are a few tips for making your home office more neck-friendly, courtesy of Dr. Stuart Kauffman and our team here at PRP in Philadelphia.
The problem with “tech neck”
Tech neck is the unofficial name for neck pain caused by using technology devices. Whether you’re craning your neck while reading on a tablet or sending a message to your coworker, straining your neck downward creates too much pressure. It can cause pain and stiffness in the muscles of your neck and shoulders.
Tech neck can also cause headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, digital eye strain, backaches, rotator cuff tendonitis, and even tingling in your arms and hands.
How does leaning your head forward cause so many problems? Although the average human head weighs only about 10-11 pounds, when you tilt it forward, it adds about 50 pounds of pressure on your neck.
How to avoid neck pain while working from home
As tempting as it is to grab your laptop and catch up on a few emails on the couch, it could spell disaster for your neck. Placing your laptop on your lap forces you to look down and overstretch your neck muscles. Instead, your laptop should always be placed on a table or desk.
Follow these additional tips to improve your at-home workplace ergonomics and posture, and to reduce neck pain:
- Hold your phone just below eye-level
- Use your index finger to text, not your thumbs
- When sitting at your desk, sit up straight with your head in a neutral position with your ears over your shoulders
- Keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent at 90-degree angles
- Stand up every 20 minutes and roll your shoulders back
- Relax your shoulders
- Take frequent walking and/or stretching breaks
- Adjust your computer monitor so it’s at eye level
You may also find starting (and ending) your day with gentle stretches helps keep your neck and shoulder muscles free from tension. Chin tucks, neck rolls, and side tilts are just a few easy neck exercises you can perform anywhere, without any gym equipment.
If you find that you get absorbed quickly into your work and lose track of time, set a timer on your phone. When your timer goes off, stand up, stretch, walk 一 anything that gets your body moving!
What to do when neck pain persists
Even with the best office setup, it’s not uncommon to experience a sore neck now and then. The occasional stiff neck can be treated at home with heat therapy, over-the-counter pain relief medication, and massage. Unfortunately, though, that’s not always enough to alleviate your symptoms.
If your neck pain persists after a few days, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Dr. Kauffman uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to reduce pain and inflammation associated with muscle strains and ligament sprains.
Don’t let neck pain make work more difficult. Schedule your consultation at our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, office today and explore the possibilities of PRP therapy. Call or request an appointment online.