Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

For some, working from home brings neck and back pain

Chiropractor adjusting another man's back Jason Wheeler, 559th Medical Squadron physical therapist, attends to his duties at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Physical Therapy Clinic. Neck and upper back pain are common complaints for teleworkers whose home office conditions are less than ideal.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- “There’s no place like home” may be an appropriate sentiment for people who favor working from the comfort of home during the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, it doesn’t ring true for those teleworkers who are feeling more pain than comfort because their home office leaves much to be desired.

“I would have to say the most common complaint of teleworkers is neck and upper back pain between the shoulder blades,” said Jason Wheeler, 559th Medical Squadron physical therapist.

Wheeler has seen his share of what he called “interesting” home setups for teleworkers. 

“I had someone who has been sitting in a beach lounger with a laptop on their lap, someone sitting on their floor with the laptop on a coffee table and a lot of people using kitchen counters or dining room tables without proper chairs for the task,” he said.

Even his own home office is less than ideal, Wheeler admitted.

“I am using a home office with a desk and office chair, but it is set for my wife’s height, so the desk appears way too tall for me, which is causing headaches and low back pain if I don’t adjust a few things,” he said. “I do this for a living and still catch myself in compromising positions from what I recommend to patients.”

Wheeler’s template for an ideal home setup is something as close to a good office setup as possible.

“The problem is that any office furniture, whether it’s at home or on base, is usually made as a one-size-fits-all design, and while most are adjustable, it just doesn’t fit certain body types and heights,” he said. “The ideal setup actually should be set for the individual so their body is supported to avoid poor posture for prolonged times.”

Wheeler recommends people raise their armrest so their shoulders feel slightly shrugged up to the ceiling in a relaxed position, sit with their hips slightly above their knees, and avoid a forward head position.

“An ideal chair would generally be as adjustable as possible, with a locking back, adjustable armrests in all directions, not just up and down, and adjustable height,” he said. “I also recommend that some people place a phone book or small stool at their feet so they can alter their foot position while they are sitting.”

In addition to using ergonomically sound furniture, desk workers can keep physical problems at bay by engaging in posture exercises throughout the workday, Wheeler said. These include exercises such as back extensions, chin tucks and shoulder shrugs – all recommended in a handout produced for last year’s 59th Medical Wing Health Rally at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

Taking breaks is one of the most important things someone with a desk job can do, whether at home or the office, Wheeler said.

“Breaks don’t have to be a complete stoppage of work; they can be having a standing desk and switching positions two to three times an hour, and they can also be five repetitions of a simple exercise that can be done hourly,” he said. “I try to set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes after my last patient of the morning and afternoon, when I am stuck on my computer typing notes. Otherwise, I end up in poor posture with headaches and shoulder pain.”

Exercises and taking breaks help office workers avoid prolonged positions, which are not ideal for the body, Wheeler said.

“Sitting is one of the worst prolonged positions for many reasons,” he said. “In sitting, a lot of underlying issues that aren’t painful when standing or working out can become problematic and spread to other aspects of life. The hips are usually flexed close to end range, which compresses a lot of structures, and the shoulders round forward when we slouch, which causes the head to protrude forward. Add a computer monitor and office chair with a soft back to the mix and all of this tends to be made much worse.” 

One of the problems with prolonged sitting is that one’s posture gets worse over time due to weakness and flexibility issues, Wheeler said.

“I tell my patients that if they want to see perfect sitting posture, then they should go by pediatrics to see 3-year-olds who haven’t been in a classroom yet,” he said.

Although teleworking can take a greater toll on the body due to inadequate home office conditions, Wheeler sees one benefit.

“If anything, people with a chronic issue now have time to finish up their work and then book some appointments to take care of things,” he said. “One positive from all of this is that I am seeing service members actually taking time to take care of themselves now, instead of waiting until just before a fitness test is due or they retire.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may be edited for length and clarity.  Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 4 No. 8 – December 1998

Report
1/1/1998

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Completeness and timeliness of reporting; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, November 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, November 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Tick-borne encephalitis vaccine, Bosnia-Herzegovina; ARD surveillance update; Outbreak of parainfluenza type 1 respiratory illness, Fort Sill.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 4 No. 2 – February/March 1998

Report
1/1/1998

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Back pain hospitalizations among active duty soldiers, Part 1; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, January 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, January 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Leprosy in an active duty soldier; Influenza outbreak, U.S. Navy, Hawaii; ARD surveillance update; Transfusion-transmitted P. falciparum malaria.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 4 No. 6 – September 1998

Report
1/1/1998

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Morbility surveillance, field training exercise, Thailand; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, August 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, August 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Outbreak, rapidly-growing mycobacterial infection; ARD surveillance update; Foodborne outbreak, Salmonella gastroenteritis.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 4 No. 5 – July/August 1998

Report
1/1/1998

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Late presentations of vivax malaria of Korean origin; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, July 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, July 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; ARD surveillance update; Hyposmolality related to excessive water consumption; Trends in hospitalizations due to mental disorders; Supplement #1: Update: HIV-1 testing in the Army; HIV-1 testing, Active duty , 1988-1998; HIV-1 testing, Reserve , 1988-1998; HIV-1 testing, National Guard, 1988-1998; HIV-1 testing, civilian applicants for service; HIV-1 tests, summary, U.S. Army, 1997; Supplement #2: Reportable diseases; All reportable conditions, 1998; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1998 (vs. 1997); Sentinel reportable STD's, 1998 (vs. 1997); Active duty force strength (March 1998).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 4 No. 7 – October/November 1998

Report
1/1/1998

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Norwalk-like viral gastroenteritis outbreak, Fort Bliss; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, October 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, October 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Hospitalizations and outpatient visits, musculoskeletal disorders; ARD surveillance update; Heat-related outpatient visits, 1997-1998; Supplement #1: Reportable diseases; All reportable conditions, 1998; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1998 (vs. 1997); Sentinel reportable STD's, 1998 (vs. 1997); Active duty force strength (June 1998).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 4 No. 4 – May/June 1998

Report
1/1/1998

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Completeness and timeliness of required disease reporting; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, May 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, May 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Elevated blood lead, Fort Campbell; ARD surveillance update; Infant botulism, WRAMC.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 4 No. 3 – April 1998

Report
1/1/1998

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hospitalizations and noneffective days, 1997; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, March 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, March 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Leptospirosis, Tripler Army Medical Center; ARD surveillance update; Varicella outbreak at Fort Knox; Supplement #1: Hospitalization Summary, 1997; Active duty hospitalizations; Active duty hospitalization rates; Total active duty hospital sick days; Noneffective rates, active duty hospitalizations; Supplement #2: Reportable Diseases Summary, 1997; All reportable conditions, 1997; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1997 (vs. 1996); Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 1997; Sentinel reportable STDs, 1997 (vs. 1996); Force strength (December 1997).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 4 No. 1 – January 1998

Report
1/1/1998

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Fevers of unknown origin among active duty soldier; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, December 1997; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, December 1997; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Visceral leishmaniasis, Sigonella, Italy; ARD surveillance update; Supplement: Notifiable conditions Jan - Dec 1997; Notifiable conditions reported through MSS; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1997(vs 1996); Sentinel reportable STDs 1997(vs 1996); Heat / cold injuries; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Force strength (September 1997).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 9 – December 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Spontaneous fractures of the femur; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, November 1997; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, November 1997; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Injury incidence among advanced trainees, Ft. Sam Houston; ARD surveillance update; Measles, Madigan Army Medical Center; Carbon monoxide intoxication, Ft. Hood and Ft. Campbell; U.S. Army Hearing Conservation Program (HCP).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 8 – November 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Febrile acute respiratory disease; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, October 1997; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, October 1997; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Arthropod, lizard, and snake envenomations; ARD surveillance update; Completeness and timeliness of required disease reporting; Army reportable disease system site survey.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 2 – March 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Pneumonia among active duty soldiers 1990-1996; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Group A beta hemolytic streptococcus among trainees; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Influenza at Aberdeen Proving Ground; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 3 – April 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Editorial Comment; Hospitalizations and non-effective days, 1996; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, March 1997; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, March 1997; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Completeness and timeliness of required disease reporting; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; ARD surveillance update; Supplement #1: Hospitalization Summary, 1996; Active duty hospitalizations; Active duty hospitalization rates; Total active duty hospital sick days; Non-effective rates, active duty hospitalizations; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1996 (vs. 1995); Supplement #2: Reportable Diseases Summary, 1996; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 1996; All reportable conditions, 1996; Force strength (December 1996).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 7 – October 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, September 1997; Varicella among active duty soldiers; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, September 1997; Typhoid fever, Tripler Army Medical Center; ARD surveillance update; Adenovirus, type 4, Ft. Jackson and Ft. Gordon; Ross River virus disease, Exercise Tandem Thrust 97; Supplement: Reportable diseases; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1997(vs 1996); Force strength (June 1997).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 1 – January 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Gastroenteritis outbreaks among military trainees; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Tetanus, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Supplement: Notifiable conditions Jan - Dec 1996; Notifiable conditions reported through MSS; Heat / Cold weather injuries; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Cold weather training guidelines; ARD surveillance update; Force strength (September 1996); Cold weather injuries in active duty soldiers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 4 – June 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Risk factor analysis (part I), hospitalizations, OJE; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, May 1997; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, May 1997; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Brown recluse spider bites among infantry trainees; STD trends, risk correlates and recurrences; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < ... 56 57 58 > >> 
Showing results 826 - 840 Page 56 of 58

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.