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Orthopedic spine specialists Steve Paragioudakis, MD, and Marc Menkowitz, MD, at the Center for the Functional Restoration of the Spine (CFRS) specialize in diagnosing and treating back and neck problems from their offices in Shrewsbury, Toms River, and Edison, New Jersey.

Read what these experts recommend if your work-at-home opportunity is becoming a pain in the neck.

Check your workspace to prevent neck pain

Your human resources department probably emphasized proper ergonomics when you spent workdays at the office. To protect your muscles, spine, shoulders, hips, and other joints from unnecessary strain, make sure you focus on the same principles in your home workspace.

A dedicated home office isn’t always necessary, but do carve out a space in a comfortable, well-lit room that allows you to concentrate on daily tasks.

Choose an adjustable height chair that supports your natural spinal curves. Set the height so that your feet can rest comfortably on the floor or a footrest while your knees remain roughly level with your hips.

Mesh fabric is a good selection for breathability. Armrests that attach to the back of the chair at about waist height offer an ergonomically correct resting place for your shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints and ease strain on your neck and upper back.

Select a desk that’s tall enough for your knees to slide under and has the surface space you need to keep your phone, pens, notepads, etc. within easy reach. If you spend time on the phone, prevent neck and shoulder strain by using a headset or earbuds.

Keep your computer screen at eye level with a riser if necessary. If you’re using a laptop or tablet, try a wireless keyboard and mouse on a pull-out desk tray to prevent your shoulders, upper back, and cervical spine from slumping forward as you type.

Position the keyboard so it remains at about waist level, which prevents strain on your elbows, wrists, and hands.  

Prevent neck pain by correcting your sitting posture

Poor sitting posture is a leading cause of neck pain and can eventually damage the muscles, ligaments, and bony structures of your spine. Proper posture supports spinal structures, increases much-needed blood flow to soft tissues, and helps prevent muscular strain.

Take a break 

Increased productivity is one benefit of working from home. Without coworkers stopping by your desk and other workplace distractions, you may find yourself “in the zone” for hours at a time. Schedule regular work breaks and lunch hours to prevent mental and physical fatigue.

Getting up from your desk and stretching periodically or a brief walk to the kitchen for fresh water relieves strain and resulting neck and shoulder pain. It may also help prevent that end-of-the-day swelling (dependent edema) you’ve noticed in your ankles and feet.

Also continue — or perhaps this is a good time to start — a healthy exercise routine and diet that fuels rather than inhibits overall physical and mental wellbeing.

Schedule an evaluation for neck pain

Although following these tips can help ease or prevent new neck pain from occurring, persistent symptoms may indicate a structural issue that requires specialty care.

If your work-at-home experience has highlighted neck issues that require correcting, we can often address them with conservative treatments such as physical therapy. For chronic or severe conditions, CFRS offers the most advanced therapies and minimally invasive surgical treatments available, including robotic spine surgery, for issues such as:

If you’d like more information about keeping your spine healthy and functioning as it should, schedule a visit at CFRS today. Call any of our offices or request an appointment online.

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