Reducing Neck and Back Pain When Working From Home

shoulder and neck pain while working from home

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become the new normal for millions of people worldwide. While working from home offers advantages like flexibility and reduced commute times, it also presents unique challenges, particularly when it comes to maintaining proper posture and ergonomics. One of the most common issues faced by remote workers is neck and shoulder pain, which can significantly impact productivity, comfort, and overall well-being.

According to a recent study, nearly 81% of people working from home experience persistent neck and shoulder pain. This problem can be attributed to various factors, including improper workstation setups, prolonged sitting, lack of physical activity, and increased stress levels due to the blurred lines between work and personal life.

Neglecting neck and shoulder pain can lead to chronic issues, such as tension headaches, decreased mobility, and even nerve impingement. In severe cases, it may necessitate medical intervention or physiotherapy, further disrupting work routines and daily activities.

Symptoms of neck and shoulder pain

working from home has pain
  • Persistent aching or stiffness in the neck muscles, often worsening throughout the workday.
  • Sharp or radiating pain that may extend from the neck into the shoulders, upper back, or down the arms.
  • Tightness or muscle spasms in the shoulders, making it difficult to move or rotate the arms freely.
  • Numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation in the arms, hands, or fingers, indicating potential nerve compression.
  • Frequent tension headaches or migraines, often stemming from muscle tension in the neck and shoulders.
  • Decreased range of motion and mobility in the neck and shoulders, making it difficult to turn or tilt the head comfortably.
  • Burning or sharp pain when moving the neck or shoulders in certain directions or performing specific movements.
  • Visible muscle knots or trigger points in the neck and shoulder area, which can be tender to the touch.
  • Fatigue or weakness in the arm muscles, making it challenging to perform tasks requiring sustained effort or repetitive motions.
  • Increased sensitivity to pressure or touch in the affected areas, indicating inflammation or muscle strain.

Tips to reduce shoulder and neck pain while working from home

working home ergonomics setting

By addressing neck and shoulder pain proactively, remote workers can enhance their overall comfort, reduce the risk of long-term complications, and maintain optimal productivity levels. Here are the more details about pain prevention and management strategies:

  • Setting up an ergonomic workstation (desk height, chair, monitor positioning, etc.) to promote proper posture and minimize strain on the neck and shoulders.
  • Taking frequent breaks and performing stretching exercises specifically targeting the neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles.
  • Practicing good posture and body mechanics throughout the workday, being mindful of slouching or hunching over the desk.
  • Incorporating regular physical activity and exercise into the daily routine, such as yoga, strength training, or cardio, to improve overall muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness practices to reduce tension and promote relaxation.
  • Seeking physiotherapy or massage therapy for personalized assessments, treatment plans, and guidance on specific exercises or stretches to alleviate neck and shoulder pain.
  • Physiotherapy can involve various techniques, such as manual therapy (soft tissue massage, joint mobilization), exercise prescription, posture correction, and ergonomic advice tailored to the individual’s needs and work environment.
  • Physiotherapists can also provide education on self-management strategies, including heat/cold therapy, postural awareness, and activity modification to prevent further strain or injury.

Home exercises recommended by the physiotherapist

home exercises when working from home

Here are a few home exercises that can help reduce neck and shoulder pain while working from home, recommended by our physiotherapist:

  1. Neck Stretches:
    • Gentle Neck Tilt: Slowly tilt your head towards one shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch on the opposite side of the neck. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
    • Neck Rotation: Slowly rotate your head to one side, feeling the stretch in the opposite side of the neck. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then rotate to the other side.
  2. Shoulder Rolls:
    • Seated or standing, lift your shoulders up towards your ears, then roll them backwards in a circular motion. Repeat 10-15 times, then reverse the direction.
  3. Upper Back Stretch:
    • Interlace your fingers behind your back, straighten your arms, and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then release.
  4. Arm Circles:
    • Stand or sit upright, and extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Make small backward circles with your arms for 10-15 rotations, then reverse the direction.
  5. Chest Stretch:
    • Stand in a doorway or corner, and place your forearms on either side at shoulder height. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch across your chest and shoulder area. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Find a physiotherapy clinic near you, to reduce neck and shoulder pain

By adopting a comprehensive approach that combines ergonomic adjustments, regular stretching and exercise, stress management, and professional guidance from physiotherapists or massage therapist, remote workers can effectively prevent and manage neck and shoulder pain, promoting overall comfort and productivity while working from home.

If you’re experiencing persistent or severe neck and shoulder pain, it’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals. At Pro Fusion Rehab, our team of experienced physiotherapists and massage therapists in Pickering and Milton clinics is dedicated to providing personalized assessments, treatment plans, and guidance tailored to your specific needs and work environment. Our comprehensive approach combines manual therapy, home exercises, posture correction, and ergonomic advice to help alleviate your symptoms and promote long-term relief.


Reducing Neck and Back Pain When Working From Home