Working from home becoming literal pain in neck for many Americans

CBS4 This Morning

INDIANAPOLIS — Working from home has become one of the biggest hallmarks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to recent numbers, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is working full time from home. And more and more companies like Google and Twitter have announced plans to extend the trend well into next year.

But now, it turns out that for employees working from home has become a literal pain in the neck.

According to a study from computer manufacturer Lenovo, 71% of employees working from home now complain of new, or intensifying aches and pains. Among the list of ailments is back pain, neck pain, poor posture, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and eyestrain.

It’s a problem that specialists in Indianapolis are seeing as well.

“The other thing that we’re seeing because of stress in general, this is a stressful time, people have this bird watchers neck, which is kind of this forward neck posture and all these muscles in the head and neck can get strained,” physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor at Indiana University Dr. Shashank Dave said.

While the issues aren’t exactly unexpected due to the increase in remote work and device use, Dave says the longer the issues continue, the more concerning they become.

“What I’m more concerned about is increased back pain, increased degeneration with some of the disks and bones that are in the spine, and some of the long-term pain effects that it could cause,” he said.

Dave says many of these problems are caused by the homes of remote workers simply not being adequately set up for remote work. Whether it be seating that doesn’t provide proper back support or the placement of devices and monitors, Dave says the best thing someone can do is to put their bodies in the best position to avoid physical stress.

“The biggest thing for people at home to do would be to set their monitor at an appropriate height. It should really be when you’re looking straight as opposed to looking down, or even up at the monitor. Make-shift offices can sometimes help. Sometimes having the monitor on a stack of books helps,” Dave said.

Dave also recommends taking a break and standing up about every 20 minutes or so coupled with the frequent stretching of your back and neck as you work to help cut down on aches and pains.

You can find more information on how to care for your neck here. You can find more information on how to care for your back here.

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