Since the COVID-19 outbreak and the lock-down affecting us all there has been a significant increase in the number of online consultations we've had relating to neck and upper back pain. Patients we've seen some time ago and have been pain free since are now popping online and booking in with us. The common issue with those who are having neck and mid/upper back pain is their home work station.
You'll be glad to know there are solutions that don't involve converting your garage or spending £££'s installing a fully adjustable desk and chair to install in your makeshift office at home. If you are lucky enough to have a good workstation in a separate office room at home check out our home workstation setup guide.
Below are 5 points to help get the best our of what you have around you
1/ Separating your keyboard from your laptop
The keyboard on a laptop encourages poor posture when in combination with an internal screen and at worst a track pad. If you use an external keyboard you can move your hands to a position that allows your arms to rest of the desk and your shoulders stay relaxed and down.
2/ Making your screen a monitor, not a gravity well to neck pain
With laptops normally resting on a table; your screen is typically far below the recommended eye-line. You’ll end up with your head looking downwards creating a consistent contraction of your posterior neck and upper back muscles. In time this can increase the risk of neck pain in the same way holding a rock in an outstretched arm all day will hurt.
Best way to fix this: get a laptop stand. We recommend the NEXSTAND K2 to raise your screen.
This system is portable, folds away easily and has a small profile for a busy bag all for £30.
The stand is height adjustable and fit almost all laptops and macs.
This simple change in itself can make all the difference to avoid neck and back pain.
3/ Seats… not Sofas
Sitting on the sofa with your laptop on a stool may be good for your eye-line but wouldn’t get past an ergonomic assessment to put it lightly. They are really useful to fall back into when you want some brain space but a lack of good back support is the issue.
4/ Mice or Mouses
This one is simple… get one! Trackpads are horrid, they pull you away from sitting tall. The cable of the mouse is not there just to connect the two. Instead it gives you vital wiggle room to allow good posture and a good shoulder position.
5/ Home exercises – No one is watching
Use your new found isolation to do the exercises your didn’t want to do in front of your colleagues. Take those recommended breaks. Stretch and exercise your back, neck and shoulders to help keep pain away. For those working from home full-time you can still access our range of useful desk based exercises.
There is almost too much content online to choose from. So here are a few people I can recommend who can help cut through the shirtless wonders out there. They offer online support or have a library of exercises you can work through to fill those dull times:
Now that you are fully informed of what to do, take action and setup your home workstation. All of what I have mentioned can be ordered online or be made from something you already have at home.
Here is a great example from one of our patients who has been given a work laptop from her workplace. She bought a mouse and keyboard recently and we are loving her toilet roll use!
A great example of making the most out of what you have.
While we are all in lock-down our team are still working from home via our online telehealth video platform. Find an appointment via our booking system and speak with us via your web-browser. You'd be surprised how much support we can offer virtually.
Check out our online price guide for more information on our virtual appointment costs. We are continuing support for our concessionary patients and are happy to offer our 33% off as normal.
Let us know if you have any questions, the team and I would be very happy to help.
Stay safe, fit and mobile
Kieran - Clinic Director, Principle Osteopath and Sports Rehabilitator