Ergonomics & Neck and Back Health: How Work From Home Setups Can Be Optimized To Promote Overall Wel

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Ergonomics & Neck and Back Health: How Work From Home Setups Can Be Optimized To Promote Overall Wel

Home office spaces are no longer only delegated to freelance workers as more and more employers offer the flexibility of working from home. If you are among the 66% of Americans who spend part of their work week working remotely, you know that creating a home office involves more than making decisions on placement and equipment.

But did you know that your home setup decisions could affect your neck and back health as well as your overall health? In this blog, fellowship-trained Neil Bhamb, MD, shares his thoughts on optimal ergonomics and best at-home practices that optimize your neck and back health.

Poor posture and disc instability

saying, Don’t slouch, Sit up tall, or Stand up straight. Guess what? They were right. Poor posture often plays a significant role in the health of your spine and may ultimately lead to or exacerbate existing neck and back pain caused by degenerative disc issues.

 When you practice good posture, the three natural curves in your back — the cervical or neck curve, the upper back curve or thoracic curve, and the low back curve or lumbar curve — are aligned. This optimal alignment creates balance in your spine and your hips, shoulders, knees, and ankles, which triggers equal weight distribution and enables you to perform tasks without stress or strain. In contrast, if poor posture is not corrected, it may lead to spine instability resulting in neck or back pain.

Create a dedicated workspace

The good news is that how you set up a home office can help you maintain good posture. A great place to start is to commit to a dedicated workspace with proper furnishings and strategically placed equipment. Working from home is more casual than working back at the office, but resist the temptation of doing a lot of work at your kitchen table or on your sofa.

Avoid tech neck

The overarching goal of your home office setup strategy is to avoid poor posture pitfalls that throw your spine out of balance. One of the more common issues you want to avoid is tech neck, which you may connect with cell phone use. Tech neck is a poor posture issue, sometimes called forward head posture. With office equipment positioned incorrectly, it’s much easier to jut or lean your head unnaturally forward, throwing your spine out of alignment.

Be seated (or stand) correctly

Standing desks are becoming increasingly popular. Whether you select a standard desk with a traditional chair or a standing desk, the goal is to be eye-level with your work. No slouching allowed! Many ergonomic chairs are on the market, but the most important thing to look for is a chair that balances your body. Headrests can be helpful if you tend to pitch your head forward. Since you want to work with your feet flat on the floor, a chair with an adjustable height is necessary.

Position your monitor to maintain good posture

Similarly, the height of your computer monitor can enhance or impede good posture. If you work from a laptop, you may want to invest in a separate monitor to place it directly in front of you. Another option would be to raise your computer by placing it on a stand or box. In either case, the goal here is to be able to look straight ahead. Optimally your sight line should be level with the address bar on your web browser.

See your doctor about persistent neck or back pain

Despite our best efforts from time to time, most of us suffer from a stiff neck or a sore back sometime during our lifetime. About 60% to 80% of adults in the United States experience back pain, and 20% to 70% get neck pain. Sometimes, we can attribute it to improperly lifting a heavy item or something minor, like sleeping wrong. However, after a few days, the pain should subside.

  Make an appointment with Dr. Neil Bhamb iIf you have persistent back or neck pain so he can discover what's going on and design a treatment plan for you. Contact Dr. Bhamb at our Century City or Marina Del Rey, California, office today if you have back or neck pain by calling or booking your appointment online.