Home Office Setup Tips

Mark F. Kurd, MD June 17th, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic we've seen a significant shift from in-office work, to working from a home based office. Many people might not have a traditional home office and therefore have setup their laptop on the dining room table or on their lap on the couch. Some companies might be conservative with their return to office dates, therefore, it’s key to identify a more permanent home work space.

It’s important to remember that the overall setup of your home office and the ergonomics of your workspace are critical to minimizing neck and back pain. We have seen several patients in the office and via virtual visits who have had increasing discomfort in their back and neck during these times. With many of our jobs we spend the majority of our time sitting. This can lead to poor posture, hunching over and forward neck bending while looking down. These positions for a prolonged period of time cause stress on the bones, discs, and particularly the soft tissue complex: muscles, tendons and ligaments.

A few ways you can minimize the stress on those soft tissues are to:

  • Stand and preferably walk five minutes every hour. Standing and walking not only helps increase blood flow, but also helps stretch out your back and neck and minimize stiffness from sitting in one position for long periods of time.
  • Make sure your computer monitor is at eye-level. It’s imperative that you sit with good posture, which includes a straight neck and back. Placing your monitor at eye level helps to avoid leaning forward with your neck or hunching over with your back. 
  • If possible, set up a sit/stand or just a standing desk—the latter is the better option. There are simple ways to elevate your desk or your monitor to create the ability to stand while working, with the key being to keep your monitor at eye level. There are many products on the market you can buy, but this can also easily be achieved by simply using a stack of books or even a few large canned goods to elevate your workspace. 
  • If possible, set up a treadmill desk. This option is a little more complex and the setup will vary based on the treadmill that you have, but it enables you to walk—at a very low pace of 0.5 or 1 mph—while working. Walking while working increases blood flow, builds strength and endurance all while burning calories. 

We hope you find this information useful! If any neck or back pains develop that persist or increase over time, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We hope that everyone is able to return to their routines safely as soon as possible!

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