What can I do to reduce the risk of getting neck or back pain whilst working from home?

Mar 26, 2020

With the current situation lots of people are working from home.

At Physio-logical we have seen a sharp rise in people suffering from back and neck pain due to poor workstation set up at home.

How do I set my workstation up at home?

The ideal set up would be to have:

  • a desk
  • a good supportive chair
  • if using a laptop put it on a riser so the top of screen is at eye level
  • your monitor should be an arm’s length distance away (approx. 51cm away from you)
  • a separate keyboard and mouse
  • if possible a separate monitor to plug into too

As lots have people have had to adjust at these unprecedented times and start working from home at short notice then I know some people do not have desks, are having to use dining room tables or kitchen work tops.

So whilst people are sensibly working at home to minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus and have limited resources, here is how to set up your workstation temporarily before you get the resources as mentioned above:

  • Do not work on your lap (I know with the children home from school it is tempting to put the TV on and work next to them on your lap)
  • Get up early and do some work (I am writing this blog at 5.30am before my children wake up)
  • If you do not have a desk put your laptop on our dining room table in front of you
  • Use a box, some paper or some books to rise your laptop up so the top of your screen is at eye level
  • If you do have a separate keyboard and mouse then do use it (a lot of people who I am talking too are not using the resources they have!)
  • If you have a computer chair then do use it, if not use your dining room chair

As I have said the advice above is the best way to set up your workstation until you can get hold of resources to set your workstation up the correct way to reduce the risk of getting neck, sciatic and back pain.

Once you have set your workstation up at home then the other really good top tip is to move regularly. The research used to say we need to all sit up straight with good posture. However a study found this:

“sitting postures which matched the natural shape of the spine, and appeared comfortable and/or relaxed without excessive muscle tone were often deemed advantageous” (O’Sullivan’s et al, 2012)

When you sit up tall with good posture there is excessive muscle tone. Therefore their advice is:

“If you don’t have back pain, then do not give your posture one second’s thought – think about being healthy. Sleep deprivation and stress are more important. Stress has a strong inflammatory role; it can make muscles tense. Most people don’t get that their back can become sore if they are sleep deprived” (O’Sullivan’s et al, 2012)

The key if you do have back pain is to move every 20 minutes, by regularly changing position less load is going through your lower back.

Here are some exercises you can do too.

Please be aware of your body and take advice from a qualified person before exercising if you have any aches or pains or send us an email for advice and guidance.

Back Arching (Lumbar Spine Extension) – Standing           

Sitting is a flexed (forward) posture so it is good to move the opposite way, into extension (backwards).

  • Move your hips forward
  • Lean back as far as you can.
  • Repeat ten times, three times a day



Sit to Stand

This exercise helps strengthen your leg and bottom muscles to take some of the strain away from your lower back

  • Cross your arms
  • Push down through your heels and stand up
  • Repeat until your legs feel tired, two times a day



Lower back pain affects around one-third of the UK adult population each year

Why suffer, we can help you and your homeworking teams reduce the risk of developing or flaring up their back and neck pain, at Physio-logical we are offering a physiotherapy video consultation service from the comfort of your own home.

A testimonial for this service ‘it was like the physio was in the room with me!’, Mr.C

To book your or your teams appointments then you can book online, email or call 07835 712306


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