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Jul 15, 2020

3 Ways To Avoid Muscle Strain While Working From Home

Dr. Jay McDonald shares best practices to protect your spine and neck from extra stress and strain while working from home.

If you find yourself working from home, you might find the information in this article helpful. My name is Jay McDonald, an Interventional Pain Management physician at Semmes Murphey Clinic, and I want to help you work from home comfortably and pain-free.

Since so many people are now working from home, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about protecting your body while you work from home and some simple ways that you can improve your home workspace.

What are the dangers of sitting in place all day?

While it can be tempting to sit on the couch or stay in bed all day while you work from home, these are not ideal positions to be in for long periods.

If you don’t make sure to take proper care of your neck and back while working from home, you can develop neck or back pain. Sitting in place all day can lead to muscle strain and pain, so here are some tips to help you work from home while protecting your neck and back.

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1. Ergonomic Workspace Set Up

If you don’t know what ergonomics is, it’s the study of workplace safety and efficiency. When setting up your workspace, it’s important to make sure it is as ergonomic as possible.

Keep both your monitor and your keyboard directly in front of you. It’s best to avoid putting your keyboard or monitor off to the side where you find yourself straining in one direction to work. In addition, make sure that your keyboard is set back at least six inches from the edge of your desk so that you have space to rest your wrists to allow for proper typing.

On the phone a lot? Try not to hold the phone between your ear and your shoulder. Over time, this simple habit can cause significant strain on your neck. If this is a hard habit to break, consider hands-free options such as using a speakerphone or a headset.

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2. Maintain Proper Posture

When sitting in a chair all day, you need to make sure that it has good lumbar support. Many office chairs have lumbar support built-in, but if your chair doesn’t have lumbar support and you’re not ready to go out and buy a more ergonomic chair, you can simply place a pillow in the lumbar area to add some support. This will protect your back while you’re sitting in a chair all day.

Walking exercise

3. Take Proper Breaks

Studies show that 52 minutes of work with 17 minutes of a break is optimal. Make sure that you take regular breaks to stand up, stretch, walk around to get your blood flowing throughout the day.

Taking breaks isn’t enough, though. You should also make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. These steps will help you counter the strain that you’re putting on your body by sitting at a desk all day.

Spine Care Specialists at Semmes Murphey Clinic

If you are having chronic severe back or neck pain and you would like to see a specialist, Semmes Murphey is here for you.

We have an excellent team of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and imaging technicians who specialize in spine care and work together under one roof.

If you'd like to learn more about me and the conditions I treat, follow the link below.

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