From the BSMC Blog

Neck or back pain in your Home Workspace? Try these three suggestions…

by | Jul 16, 2020

Amidst the chaos in our world right now, and what we can’t control. It is important to focus on the little things, the positive things, the things that make us smile, and things we can control. 

We want to maintain our health, fitness and wellbeing the best that we can. 

One thing we recognise as physiotherapist’s is the change in your work environment. If you usually work from an office you may have been asked to work from home during this period, which is great that this is a possibility for you to continue your work. But you might forget is how important it is to ensure you have an ergonomic set up at home to reduce any postural related aches and pains.

Firstly – please don’t work from a couch or your bed. Your body won’t appreciate this if you do. 

Here are some tips to optimise your health and wellbeing whilst working from home.

1. Optimise your set up

What is important to consider… 

  • Chair

Some might have the luxury of a nice office chair at home, like you would at work. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and you have support of your natural spinal curves! If you think this may be a long-term adjustment for you, it is recommended to invest in an ergonomic office chair or take your chair home from the office!

Adjust the chair (if possible) to ensure your feet are flat on the ground. If not, place an object/foot stool underneath to ensure that you have contact with the ground. You want your hips and knees at approximately 90 degrees. If you have adjustable arm rests, adjust them so that your arm gently rest on them and your shoulders feel relaxed. 

  • Objects

Keep your frequently used items in reaching distance. Ensure you don’t have to stretch too much to reach for these things throughout the day. 

  • Monitor

Place your monitor or laptop directly in front of you, about 50-70cm away from your eyes. The top of the screen should be at eye level or slightly below, you don’t want to be looking up excessively or down excessively, this will place strain on your neck.

  • Keyboard

Have your keyboard directly in front of you, approximately forearms length away. Ideally it should be approximately 2-4 cm above your thighs. Aim to have your wrists flat, and if you can, have cushioning under your wrist when using a mouse.


2. Remain Active

Keep on moving. The incidental exercise or NEAT you would usually accumulate during your work hours will diminish, so keep your eyes on your step tracker. If your set up isn’t as optimal as what it is at work, you might find an increase in stiffness or tension in certain areas. 

  • Use your normal commuting time to go for a quick walk, stretch or yoga
  • Set an alarm every 30 mins for a quick neck and shoulder stretch 
  • Get up every hour for a walk just inside the house


3. Enhance your environment

Don’t underestimate the influence of your environment. The amount of light, temperature, smell and overall feel of your environment can influence your mood, as well as your productivity levels. Set up an environment that makes you feel positive and happy. Don’t forget to have your water bottle close and keep up your hydration levels. 

Look after yourself during this time. Reach out to those close to you, and seek support when you need it.

If you need any advice or help regarding your home set up, or are finding you are developing stiffness or tension please give us a call on 5251 5724, send me an email or feel free to come in for a visit. We will be able to help you during this time.


Claire Van Poppel