Schedule an Appointment

Is Working from Home Increasing Your Chronic Pain Issues?

Mar 07, 2021 | Becki Andrus

There are many benefits to working from home: time flexibility, no commute, and a better balance between home and work responsibilities. Many companies shifted their workforce to home-based positions at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the lockdowns and restrictions are ending, businesses see the advantages of maintaining a remote workforce.

If you are a remote employee, how has this change affected your life and schedule? Along with the convenience and benefits of a work-from-home position, there are notable drawbacks as well. Regardless of your job description or role in the company, working from home comes with ups and downs.

Increase of Chronic Pain Among Work from Home Employees

One notable change among work-from-home employees is the development of chronic pain. In the office, you probably have the benefit of a comfortable chair and ergonomic workstation. But most people don’t have these comfortable conditions to use in their homes.

Makeshift offices take a toll on the body, often leading to chronic pain. Whether you are sitting on the couch with a laptop or have a temporary desk at the kitchen table, you’re probably feeling the tightness and discomfort in your back, neck, shoulders, hips, and arms.

Survey Results: How Employees are Affected

It’s estimated that four in five remote employees developed musculoskeletal pain when they started working remotely during the pandemic lockdowns. A large percentage of these employees didn’t talk to their employer about the pain.

The survey responses shed light on how much working from home is affecting employees:

Why Working from Home Causes Chronic Pain?

As employees made the shift to working from home, this transition happened suddenly. Many businesses were forced to close their doors with little notice as the pandemic quickly spread around the world.

When these flexible working arrangements were made, office workers didn’t receive the equipment or support they needed. For example, most employers didn’t provide the tools to support proper ergonomics when employees are at the computer.

At the same time, eliminating the commute means that employees are often sitting at the computer for more extended periods of time each day. Hours of sitting affects people of all ages, even when someone has excellent health.

Why Aren’t Employees Reporting These Injuries?

Even though work-related chronic pain is on the rise, it’s interesting that many employees are not choosing to share this information with their employers. Why are people reluctant to report the injuries? When these seemingly minor injuries are left untreated, they can lead to serious chronic health issues in the future.

One of the main reasons people aren’t talking to their employers is that they worry about their job security. They enjoy the benefits of working from home and don’t want to lose the opportunity because of the working conditions.

Additionally, most employees don’t understand their rights in the workplace. They aren’t familiar with employment laws that are designed to protect employees through safe working conditions.

5 Tips for Managing Chronic Pain When Working from Home

If you are working from home, you can take charge of your own health. Consider how your working conditions are affecting your wellbeing. Be proactive about creating a workspace that supports your body so you can avoid the most chronic injuries that happen when sitting at the computer. Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Raise Your Computer Screen: When you sit at the computer, the screen should be high enough to allow your neck to be straight. Avoid looking down at a laptop or cellphone screen. This position puts pressure on the neck and strains the spine. Also, make sure you are looking straight ahead instead of sitting at an angle.
  2. Schedule Time for Movement: It’s easy to get caught up in a project and forget to take a break. Standing up for a quick stretch break is essential to help you work out the sore muscles. Set a timer if you need a reminder. A good rule of thumb is to stand up and walk away from the computer once an hour, for at least 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Talk to Your Employer: As an employee, you have the right to request support from your employer. If you need accommodations or better working equipment, reach out to Human Resources or your manager to request assistance. Most employers will help with reasonable requests.
  4. Improve Your Posture. While working, the ideal posture is sitting straight while keeping your joints and bones aligned to reduce the risk of muscle fatigue. Choose a chair with good lumbar support and the right height that allows a 90-degree angle in the knees when your feet are flat on the floor.
  5. Avoid Repetitive Strain Injuries: When your joints are in awkward, forced positions and you are going through repetitive motions, then it will likely lead to pain issues. For example, tendonitis is a common issue that arises when people are typing at the computer throughout the day. Maintain natural positioning in the arms and wrists. Also, be consistent with gentle stretching during your break times.

Personalized Support for Pain Management

You don’t have to suffer through the day with chronic pain. If you feel like your working conditions contribute to your pain, then our team is here to help you find solutions that work. We get to the root cause of your pain, helping you find immediate and long-term answers that are customized to your unique needs.

For more information about available services, please schedule a consultation with one of our pain management doctors. Texas Partners Healthcare Group offers a holistic approach and quality care for people of all ages, helping you regain control over your health once again.