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Working from home can be a pain in the neck, chiropractor warns

'I get it, you’re at home and want to relax on the bed, but if your back is not getting proper support, it could cause serious issues,' says local chiropractor

Working from home can be a pain in the neck so local chiropractors are hoping to help with some tips for those toiling away at makeshift offices inside their residence.

As COVID-19 changes the way people go about their day-to-day lives, social distancing has caused many to work from the comfort of home.

Dr. Leah Lawson, a chiropractor at Vitality Health on Huronia Road in Barrie and at the Bayside Wellness in Collingwood, has seen an increase in neck pain for many people working at home.

“There are many people now working in situations and positions that they’re not used to working in. People and their laptops are at the couch, the dining room table and even lying in bed,” said Lawson. “In cases like this, it is going to put some strain on your neck and even cause some headaches.”

As many people have tried to find some comfort as they try the new normal, Lawson advises against getting cozy on the couch or bed as that will only lead to problems later.

“That is definitely something I wouldn’t recommend,” said Lawson. “I get it, you’re at home and want to relax on the bed, but if your back is not getting proper support, it could cause serious issues if doing it for a prolonged amount of time.”

If you do need to sit on a bed, the ideal posture is with your hips moved toward the headboard or wall, a pillow propped against your lower back, and another pillow on your lap to give leverage to your work device.

Avoid sitting cross-legged and leaning over your device, Lawson cautioned. This can cause knee, hip and neck issues. Lying straight out with your neck flexed, looking down at your device can cause neck problems.

Lawson credited some of her patients who prepared ahead of time for working from home and said there are those who are doing better physically than before.

“I have some patients who took the time to set up their workspace properly and have seen benefits from doing so,” said Lawson. “They’re actually experiencing less pain because of it and it really is something everyone should do.”

Lawson suggests only sitting for 30 to 50 minutes at a time after setting up a semi-permanent workstation at home. It is advised that when sitting in your chair, ensure that your hips are all the way back and your back is touching the back rest of the chair.

Ensure you have a pillow for your lower back for support and raise your device or screen so that the top is at your eye level, Lawson suggested.

Use a separate keyboard and mouse so that they can remain at elbow height and use a tea towel or any other towel to roll up under the wrist to help prevent wrist pain.

Lawson suggests speaking to a professional should you experience any pain in your neck and back. Ignoring it can cause more issues.

“A lot of people just ignore what their body is telling them and they shouldn’t,” said Lawson. “Any pains now have the potential to turn into something worse and catching it early is key.”