Tips to Reduce Neck and Back Pain While Working from Home
The pandemic has changed people’s lives in many ways. Millions of people now work or do school work from home and there is a considerable amount of those individuals who are experiencing discomfort and developing musculoskeletal disorders due to poorly set up workspaces and lack of movement. Some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders associated with computer use is upper back, neck, lower back, and shoulder pain. There are many factors of desk ergonomics that can contribute to musculoskeletal pain, such as the chair, desk layout, keyboard, and screen. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides tips to setting up your workspace:
- Make sure you have a comfortable chair
Choose a chair that supports upper back, lower back, and hips. Sitting too far forward can cause you to arch your back and sitting too far back can cause you to slouch. These positions can cause pain if sustained for periods of time. Feet should be flat on the floor and knees in line or slightly lower than your hips. There should be adequate clearance underneath your desk for legs and chair to slide underneath. Crossing your knees and ankles can also contribute to low back pain. Consider using a pillow to support your low back if you chair cannot be adjusted. A foot stool can also be used to make sure your knees are bent to take pressure off your lower back.
- Keep your desk organized and clean
There are 3 “working zones” to a desk: primary, secondary and the non-working zone. The primary zone is where the most used items are kept, such as your keyboard, mouse, notebook, and pen. The secondary zone is where less frequently used items are located, such as phone or reference materials. The non-working zone is where you place all your personal belongings, rarely used stationary items or any desk décor; this zone is for items that are rarely used throughout the day.
- Make sure your monitors are placed correctly
The monitor should be adjusted so the top of the screen is eye level. If your neck is arched back, the monitor is too high and if your chin extends forward, then the monitor is too low. Your head should be balanced directly over your spine. The screen should be about arm’s length away. Adjusting the font or size on the display will allow you to read the text easier and help reduce visual fatigue. Screens should also be placed at right angles to windows and light filters or blue light glasses can be used to help reduce glare and prevent headaches. If you have more than one monitor, the primary monitor should be positioned directly in front of you to avoid twisting. Be sure to move the chair when looking at the second monitor.
- Use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse
Keyboard and mouse should be kept on the same height and placed directly in front of you. Shoulders should be relaxed, elbows should be bent at a 100-110-degree angle and supported by the arm rest, and wrist should be straight.
- Take breaks often
It is easy to get caught up in work that hours can pass before we take a break. It is important to take a 1-2-minute stretch break every 20-30 minutes and a 5-10-minute break every hour. Our body needs breaks to avoid eyestrain and being in a fixed posture for a prolonged period of time which can lead to neck and back pain.
How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
- Perform ergonomics assessment to determine the underlying cause of discomfort
- Provide strategies and recommendations for managing your health based on results from the ergonomic assessment
- Improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength
- Improve posture and endurance to be able to tolerate prolonged periods of sitting without pain
- Dry needling to release a trigger point to improve range of motion or relieve pain
If you are continuing to experience pain of any sort from working at home, do not hesitate to give the front desk a call at OC Sports & Rehab. Our Foothill Ranch Physical Therapy providers are available to give you additional stretches and exercises to alleviate your pain and get you back to your most productive self! Call us today at 949-716-5050 to set up your first evaluation or a follow-up appointment!Read More
How Physical Therapy Can Help You Get Back to Work Quicker
How Physical Therapy Can Help with Returning to Work
Many of us have dealt with an acute injury or chronic pain that made it painful to work or maybe even resulted in time off work. Whether you work a desk job or are on your feet all day, a physical therapist can help restore the function needed to perform job tasks more effectively with less pain.
During your initial evaluation, our physical therapists will ask you the history of your current injury or condition, including what types of tasks and activities you perform at work. If you mention your injury impacting these work tasks, the therapist can incorporate this into your plan of care and goals. The therapist will determine what is contributing to difficulty with work tasks including lack of range of motion, sensation, or strength.
What will I be doing during treatment?
- Education of proper workstation desk setup and computer ergonomics
- Education on proper lifting postures and technique
- Education of workplace modifications to reduce the chance of reinjury
- Prescription of individualized home exercise program to improve the ability to perform work tasks
- Performance of exercises and activities in the clinic that is designed to decrease pain and improve function in order to allow for you to better perform job tasks
- Interventions designed to decrease pain and facilitate the treatment including soft tissue massage, ice, heat, and electrical stimulation.
Depending on what your job requires, the therapist will include exercises to improve your ability to perform these tasks. Some of the tasks may include the following:
- Pushing and pulling
- Lifting and carrying
- Overhead reaching
- Climbing ladders or stairs
How can I get started?
Contact either our Foothill Ranch Physical Therapy or Lake Forest Physical Therapy locations. Our staff can schedule an appointment for you and determine if a doctor’s prescription is required.Read More
Benefits of Pre and Post-surgical Physical Rehab
Pre and post surgical rehab is often recommended for those having orthopedic surgery. These types of surgeries could include foot, ankle, knee, hip, wrist, hand, shoulder, neck, and spine surgeries. Rehab can, however, be beneficial for just about any type of surgical procedure. A physical therapist at OC Sports and Rehab can put together both a pre and post-surgical rehabilitation plan for an individual preparing for surgery. The following are several important benefits of having pre and post-surgical rehab.
Benefits of Pre-Surgical Rehab
This is often called prehabilitation, and it helps an individual prepare physically and mentally for a surgical procedure. There are several benefits of going to rehab before your surgery.
- Faster Recovery– Learning the exercises you’ll need to do before surgery trains your muscles in advance. This will make post-surgical rehab easier and more effective.
- Fewer Complications– The weaker and frailer an individual is, the more likely it is that the person will experience complications such as infection after a surgical procedure. Prehab can increase strength and immunity prior to surgery.
- Less Anxiety– Patients that have undergone some sort of prehab are often less prone to anxiety or stress prior to the surgery. Starting a process of physical activity that improves strength, endurance, and flexibility can improve overall confidence that the procedure will be successful.
Benefits of Post-Surgical Rehab
It’s important to start a post-surgical rehabilitation plan as soon as your doctor states that you’re ready. The following are a few of the benefits of post-surgical rehab.
- Improve Circulation– Improved circulation not only facilitates faster healing but reduces the chance of a blood clot forming. Something as simple as massage can improve circulation. Many types of basic exercises and simple movements prescribed by one of our experienced physical therapists can promote increased blood circulation.
- Reduce Pain and Swelling– The right type of post-surgical treatment can help reduce the amount of pain and swelling you experience after your surgery. Icing and ultrasound are both techniques a physical therapist may use to reduce localized swelling and pain.
- Regain Lost Strength– The more quickly you regain strength and stamina, the more quickly you’ll get back to your daily routine. A physical therapy program can be designed to target the specific areas in your body that need to be strengthened after surgery.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
A trained physical therapist can advise you regarding the best prehab and post-surgical plan for your specific needs. As soon as you know when your surgery is scheduled you’ll want to make an appointment with a physical therapist. A therapist will likely do a complete physical assessment before creating a unique prehab and rehab program. Physical therapy treatment can help you achieve as much strength, stamina, flexibility, and improved range of motion as possible both before and after your surgery. A physical therapist may use a variety of manual therapies or teach you exercises you can do at home. A therapist might also use heat, ice, or electrical stimulation. You’ll want to get started as soon as possible to make sure you’re prepared for surgery and can make a quick and full recovery.Read More