In the past year many of us have been juggling the challenges of working from home. With this comes changes in work setups, changes in hours worked, and the blurring of work and home spaces. The combination of these changes may be contributing to aches and pain in various body parts. If you continue to work remote or are transitioning back to office life, here are some helpful tips.
The barriers between work and home have become increasingly blurred in the past year especially as many companies offer remote working opportunities. With this change, much of the workforce has increased the number of hours worked each day, and many are working more consecutive hours without breaks. Those water cooler and bathroom breaks or small trips to co-workers desks may have played a bigger role than you realized. Prolonged positions can cause pain over time. These extended times in positions can cause muscle fatigue, muscle tension, swelling, or joint pain.
Many patients who have been working from home have reported increased pain in various areas including neck, headaches, shoulders, elbows, low back, hips, glutes, hamstrings and knees. Research shows that trigger points, those pesky knots everyone can relate to, can set in in about an hour’s time.1 So frequent stretching or movement breaks can be helpful in managing the symptoms often associated. Setting a timer on your phone to get up and move every hour can be a good way to help you build those short breaks into your day, at home or if you are back in your office. With increased use of camera facing meetings and classes, it may seem difficult to sneak in movement breaks, but even just standing up for a short time can provide some relief. And if you feel a little silly taking these breaks, encourage your colleagues to join! Your eyes and joints will thank you.
Whether you’re back in the office or still working from home, you’ll need a solid set up at your desk to support your body’s posture. While many have had to make the best of what they have, there are some relatively simple changes that can help support you and your work.
Even with a solid work set up, there are techniques you can use to help manage tightness or pain.
Should you experience pain when working from home or if you have pain upon returning to an office-setting, reach out to an Athletico near you for a Free Assessment. Our experts can help you manage muscle fatigue, tightness, and pain throughout your work day. Free assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Hoyle JA, Marras WS, Sheedy JE, Hart DE. Effects of postural and visual stressors on my-ofascial trigger point development and motor unit rotation during computer work. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2011 Feb;21(1):41-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2010.04.006. Epub 2010 Jun 26. PMID: 20580571.