New norm, new pain?
Surveys conducted on adults having to work from home (WFH) during the recent Covid-19 pandemic revealed that ~30% of the WFH population experienced neck pain, while ~50% of another surveyed population experienced worsening of neck pain. With WFH slated to be a new norm, is it possible to prevent neck pain?
While social isolation and simply working away from the office were also found to cause pain, the biggest contributing factors of neck pain was found to be poor ergonomics and the lack of knowledge on ergonomics. With easy access to ergonomic furniture these days, are we really using them correctly?
Simply put, ergonomics is the efficient arrangement of a work environment to allow one to work comfortably. This ideal arrangement would differ from job to job, and also by the constraints of our work or home environments. However, there are general rules to follow that makes a healthy ergonomic setup achievable for everyone:
Working in neutral positions - not working ‘at the limit’ of your joints
Take into consideration the need for movements - the body needs to move from time to time
Following these principles, a typical office worker’s set up would look like this:
Simple steps to improve your ergonomics
Another trick is to use easily available items (e.g. books & boxes) at home to adjust the height of furniture; or simply rearranging the direction of certain items (e.g. tilting the keyboard for wrist pain). Even with a more ergonomic setup, it is still important to get up and move regularly. This can be as simple as walking to get a glass of water, standing to take a call or doing a few stretches every hour.
A physiotherapist is an ideal candidate to assess and advise you on the ideal ergonomics for you given work environment.
Still unsure of whether your current setup is suitable for you? Feel free to consult our physiotherapists on the ergonomics of your work or home.