Working From Home Causing Neck Pain?

Working from home can be tricky especially when it comes to setting up your workstation in the optimal position. These tips on how high to place your monitor, how to sit properly and comfortably and which type of desk to use will help you stay in good posture and prevent pain.

Setting up a home office has been a challenge for most people working from home. Could you explain what factors should be considered when setting up a workstation?

Dr. Scott Gardner: There are several factors when setting up a workstation. For me, stand-up desks are always going to be superior to anything else, but if that’s not an option, then you want to make sure that the midpoint of the monitor should be at eye level, and the monitor should be no more than about 12 to 18 inches away, so it’s preventing leaning in and dropping the head down and to have forward head posture. Also too, we recommend using a chair that does not have armrests, so you’re not tempted to lean to one side or the other. Also, when sitting, you really want to make sure that the top of the thigh closest to the hips should always be higher than the knees.

How can your desk table or chair height cause neck pain?

Dr. Scott Gardner: When viewing a person sitting from the side, we want three points in perfect alignment for optimal posture. So, looking at the center of the ear, lining that up with the middle of the shoulder, aligning both those points up with the center of the hip. If these points are not lining up, then there will be stress on the spine, which can cause pain and definitely malfunction.

For people using laptop computers, why should they invest in an external monitor or keyboard and mouse to avoid neck pain?

Dr. Scott Gardner: Laptops really are convenient but cause a tremendous amount of stress on the spine. They really do cause a forward head posture and a forward leaning, which leads to what we call tech neck or technology neck. Either using an external monitor or an adjustable laptop stand will greatly decrease the stress on the spine and posture.

People may feel more comfortable working from the couch, but could you explain how this lounging position could cause neck pain over time?

Dr. Scott Gardner: When a person is in that lounging position, they’re not lining up those three points. Again, we need the middle of the ear, the middle of the shoulder and the hip to be aligned whether the person is sitting on the couch, standing, or sitting at a desk. If those points are not lining up, then this does cause that forward lean in the shoulders and a forward head posture, which can ultimately lead to neck, upper back pain, shoulder pain, and even things like headaches.

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If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Scott Gardner visit or call 973-614-9256 to schedule an appointment.

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