How to prevent Back, Neck Pain while working from home

BOSTON (CBS) — As more people work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, more people are discovering that it is not always easy on their bodies.

“I have chronic back issues that are due to my severely flat feet. So going from the pleasantries of the office with ergonomic furniture to making do in a New York City apartment has definitely been a difference,” said Andrew Falcone, who is working from home. The change in his work environment has begun to hurt.

He’s not alone. Since we are not working at our usual desks, our bodies are feeling the aches and pains from poor posture.

“You may be working off your couch, on your bed so you tend to have a more rounded posture,” said orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Rahul Shah.

Shah said a flat surface is ideal and make sure the keyboard is just within arm’s length with your elbows bent.

“The neck is basically taken care of by looking straight ahead or looking down about 10 degrees. For the low back, you want to try and sit up as straight as you can and taking breaks every 20-30 minutes if you can,” Shah said.

If you are having aches and pains from the long hours in front of the computer, don’t forget to get your regular basic exercise daily because it can help.

“We are all experiencing a new normal,” Shah said, “because of that we may not be doing our other aerobic activity like walking, going over to a colleague…[it’s] important to keep that as part of our routine so we don’t get fatigued working from home.”

Falcone made a makeshift standing desk at his kitchen counter. “Doing some stretching, light workouts in the apartment as well to stay loose because when things get tight that is when they cause pain,” Falcone said.

He said he finds spending less time sitting is definitely helping his back.

Phones and devices are another common reason for pain from poor posture because looking down can affect the back and neck. Doctors say try to keep your phone more towards the front of your face if possible.

By Dr. Mallika Marshall  | BOSTON (CBS)