Wellbeing / 26 May, 2020

Six steps to preventing neck ache and back ache while working from home

Dr Goh Lit Ching

Most of us have become familiar with working remotely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, most homes simply do not have the space to accommodate today’s ergonomic office furniture, nor do most people invest in it. If you are working from your home, it’s likely that you are either using your computer on a regular table or a kitchen countertop, or you are on your bed or sofa. With poor workstation setups and prolonged physical inactivity, chances are you aren’t working with a healthy posture. These can all contribute to neck ache and back ache.

What can we do to prevent this?

  1. Adjust your computer screen to the same height as eye level – Raise the screen level so that you do not have to look down at your screen all the time. Use some books or a laptop holder to elevate your computer. It is also recommended that you angle your screen directly in front of you so that you do not have to twist your neck.
  2. Check your posture – Prolonged sitting and slouching forward can contribute to neck and back ache. Make sure you maintain the right posture as much as you can. Prevent muscle fatigue by sitting up straight, and aligning and supporting the joints, muscles and ligaments.
  3. Support your back – Try to lean backward and let your back rest on the chair as much as possible. If your chair does not provide good lumbar support for your back, get a cushion or rolled up towel to support your lower back. Do not forget neck support as well.
  4. Do not forget to move and stretch – Taking a break to exercise and stretch at regular intervals is a key part of protecting your spine throughout the day. Simple neck exercises and walking around in your house can help you feel better.
  5. Set up your keyboard and mouse at a comfortable height – Make sure you can use your keyboard and mouse with your forearms and hands level and straight, especially when your laptop is raised. Be careful not to let your arms and hands dangle in an unsupported position. Get a good wrist rest for your mousepad if you can.
  6. Avoid working from your sofa or bed for a prolonged time – If your sofa and bed do not provide proper support, working from them will force you to look down at your laptop. Not only does this strain your neck and back, it can also affect your productivity by causing you to lose concentration easily and impact your ability to stay focused for long periods of time.
Back to Articles

Search