Why Working From Home Can Make Your Shoulders Sore

July 29, 2020

Anna Bee

There’s some bad news for remote workers: Working from home may be making your shoulders sore. Specifically, your makeshift home office is wreaking havoc on your body. If you have been working from your bed, sofa, or spare kitchen chair, chances are these non-ergonomic workstations are putting a strain on the body.

A DailyMail article noted that in a recent survey by the Institute of Employment Studies, there has been a 'significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints' during the quarantine period. It continued to show that “more than half of those surveyed reported new aches and pains: 58 percent in the neck, 56 percent in the shoulder, and 55 percent in the back.”


Why do the shoulders hurt? Poor posture is the culprit

Your work equipment may be limited at home. You use a regular telephone so you cradle the phone between your neck and shoulders most of the time. Or you slouch when you peer down into your laptop. These are some recipes for body ache.

When you work with poor posture, the back, neck, and shoulders suffer. This cycle of body pain can cause great distress. If the pain becomes chronic, it might lead to depression, a Cleveland Clinic article said.

If you work on a traditional desk and chair, there are limited options on how you can work nearer to your laptop to read files or write a report. The result is that you crane your neck forward and put you in a “C-position” which would put a strain on the back and surrounding muscles like the neck and shoulders.

It’s not all your fault, though. According to a Washington Post article, even if you begin the day sitting up and straight, it only takes 10 to 15 minutes before your body settles into a poor posture that can lead to injury.


The remedies

You don’t always have to take pain-killers to alleviate shoulder pain. There are simpler ways to address pain problems, and they don’t necessarily cost too much money or effort.

       1. Stand up -- The expert who was interviewed in this Express article advised to change positions once in a while. Particularly, the recommendation is to stand up more. Instead of sitting down, get on your feet when you go on Zoom meetings or when you answer calls.

In the same article, the expert said to “stand up every 30 minutes to stretch your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of sitting.”

You can also invest in a height adjustable desk so you stay encouraged to stand for a good part of the day.

       2. Stretch your tense muscles -- Experts claim that there are benefits to incorporating movement throughout the day. This Medical News Today article stated that physical activities could reduce health risks such as stress and even death.

If you can’t attend a yoga class due to the fear of catching coronavirus, you can still stay active in the comfort of your home. Yoga stretches and posture exercises like neck stretches and shoulder rolls can greatly reduce tightness. You can also get a massage to relax your muscles.

      3. Try essential oils -- Anti-inflammatory essential oils like lavender and peppermint can help lessen body pain, among other things. You can rub them directly on the affected body part and use them in your humidifier or during your shower. Make sure to use high-quality essential oils and be wary of products that use cheap ingredients. Check with your doctor for any complications if you are pregnant, lactating, or have any allergies.


Seek help

Following these simple steps can liberate you from having shoulder pains. But if the pain persists, ring your doctor right away. There might be a need to undergo a check-up or treatment to minimize the pain. 

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