There are some fantastic perks to working from home, including being able to work in your PJs, having an unlimited supply of your favorite snacks, and having flexibility. In fact, between 2019 and 2021, the number of remote workers tripled, swelling from 9 million to over 27.5 million.
There’s one problem with working from home that has real implications for your health: hours and hours of sitting. Hunching over a computer and sitting for extended periods wreaks havoc on your body, especially your neck. “Tech neck” is real and can interfere with your enjoyment of daily life.
Our compassionate team here at Empire Physical Therapy and Athletic Rehabilitation has you covered. Physical therapists Billy Reilly, MS, PT, and Paul La Rosa, MS, PT, offer the most advanced and highly customized treatment for pain that stems from a multitude of conditions.
The physical perils of sitting
Over 86% of people perform work that requires them to sit at a desk, and most end up spending about 75% of their day sitting.
Lengthy periods of sitting have been shown to be harmful to your health. In fact, sitting has been dubbed the new smoking, since it can put you at higher risk for everything from heart problems to diabetes.
Another problem you’re at high risk for is stiffness and pain in many parts of your body.
When working from home becomes a pain in the neck
Poor posture worsens neck problems, and people tend to hunch over when they sit at their desks, amplifying the discomfort. Using a keyboard and the repetitive act of typing also contribute to neck stiffness and pain, as they stress your muscles.
The uncomfortable symptoms that may emerge in your neck when you work from home include:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Muscle spasms in the cervical spine area
- Nerve pain that’s searing and can spread to your shoulders and arms
- Tingling in your arms, hands, and fingers
Seek treatment when these symptoms arise. We can explain how we can work with you to ease your discomfort and what treatments we can administer.
There’s help for relieving office-induced neck pain
When you come to Empire Physical Therapy and Athletic Rehabilitation, we evaluate your neck pain thoroughly. We want to see if any other conditions that you have already or that might emerge due to the physical stresses of working remotely are related to your pain.
For example, you might suffer more if you have osteoarthritis, or you may have a problem like disc degeneration or a herniated disc, which prolonged sitting can cause and exacerbate.
These conditions come under the umbrella of cervical disc disease, when there’s an abnormality with a cushiony disc (or discs) located between your vertebrae.
We also ask you about your home office setup to see if we can make tweaks to support your neck health, including:
- Whether you have a well-designed and comfortable ergonomic office chair
- If you’re mindful about practicing good posture and keeping your shoulders lowered
- Whether your computer screen is at a level that doesn’t strain your neck
We can create a customized treatment plan with an exercise component that focuses on stretching and strengthening your strained neck muscles. We have a fully equipped on-site gym here, too, for your convenience.
In particular, slowly executed range-of-motion exercises — moving your neck in a range of directions — take the stress off your cervical spine and increase your neck strength and mobility.
We balance this with aerobic exercise, which increases blood flow to the soft tissue and muscles of your neck and upper back area. As a result, not only do your muscles become looser, but your range of motion is enhanced. We also recommend treatments such as:
- Massage therapy
- Ice pack application
- Heat therapy
- Ultrasound therapy
Because our team approaches your work-induced neck pain with an arsenal of effective treatment tools, you can enjoy comfort again, whether you’re working at your desk or walking your dog.
Healthy habits to practice on your own while working at home include getting up and walking around every 30 minutes or so, being mindful of your posture, and ensuring that your screen is set at the proper height and close enough to see well.
We’re dedicated to your whole-body health and are here to help if work-related neck pain is cramping your style.
Call our convenient New York City office, located in Manhattan’s Midtown East section, at 607-602-1330 to schedule an appointment or request one online.