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Preventing work-from-home aches and pains

Posted at 9:00 AM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 12:07:25-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Many of us are working from home now and dealing with the challenges that comes with it. But if you're on a computer all day, you could be causing long-term damage to your neck and spine without realizing it.

The biggest difference is that work spaces are made with your body in mind. But those same ergonomically-sound items, such as your desk and chair at the office, may not be available at home.

"I think people spending more time sedentary, spending it in a situation that may not be ideally set up to do it are the big risks of this lock down and home isolation and not going to work,” said Dr. Stephen Curtin, an orthopedic spine surgeon with the Tucson Orthopedic Institute.

Dr. Curtin has these tips for you to keep in mind. If you are working at a home desk, he said your chair is the most important item. You should have one that allows you to sit in a neutral position.

"And that's with your hips bent at about 90-100 degrees. Your feet should really be on the floor, if the chair is too tall you really need to put something under them {feet}. And you want to be able to sit in ideally a nice chair that fits the curvature of your spine,” said Curtin.

Look out for slouching, reaching in bad positions and how your neck is leaning.Lastly, take breaks and make sure you're moving around.

"You got to get up and move. Your musculoskeletal system doesn't like to be in any one position for too long. Movement is what kind of lubricates the joints,” said Curtin.

He said, even if you don't have a perfect chair, you can get by by taking many breaks. Simply focusing on healthy habits will go a long way.