With more people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, back and neck pain is on the rise. Whether you are working at a desk, table or in bed, chances are your posture is not healthy. Texas Orthopedics physiatrist Dr. Ai Mukai spoke to Fox 7 Austin to provide some useful tips to save your body from unnecessary aches and pains while working from home.
Set up your workstation for success.
You can use everyday items from your home to help set up your desk properly. “You want to customize whatever you have,” says Dr. Mukai.
First, make sure your workstation is set up so that your screen is at eye level. You can raise the computer screen or use a set of books. Then, you want to sit up straight, not rolling your shoulders forward, with your thighs parallel to the ground, and feet flat on the floor. If your feet dangle, use a box or stack of books so your feet can rest flat. A pillow or rolled towel can help provide additional back support.
Avoid tech neck.
“Your head weighs about 9-10 pounds, and once you start leaning forward, at about a 45-degree angle, that becomes 45 pounds of pressure on your neck,” Dr. Mukai explains. This pressure can result in some serious neck pain.
When using your phone or iPad, keep it at eye level to avoid straining your neck. Take frequent breaks to stand up and stretch. You can stretch your back and neck by standing against a wall and pushing your head and shoulders back against the wall. Dr. Mukai also recommends using a lacrosse or tennis ball for self-massage, or you can get a trigger point massage with a cane or stick.
Click here to see Dr. Mukai’s entire FOX 7 interview.
When to see the doctor for back and neck pain.
Don’t wait to see a spine specialist for nagging neck or back pain. If your pain is constant, severe, or if you have any numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, it is time to see a doctor.
Texas Orthopedics spine care team consists of physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians who specialize in non-surgical back and neck treatment and board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeons who can assess your pain and provide treatment options.
Schedule an appointment online or call (512) 439-1000 for more information.