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When Work-at-Home Ergonomics Cause Back, Neck Pain

August 28, 2020

Working from home has become the new normal for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You’re saving on gas money and spending more time with the family, but it also means spending long hours sitting in front of computer and, for some, less daily physical activity. Without the proper setup or regular exercise, it can be easy to develop problems with the back and neck.

Jonathan Sylvain, the Clinical Manager for Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network’s Spine Program, says there are ways to treat pain in the back and neck if you start to develop symptoms while working from home. Start with physical therapy.

“Physical therapy is a safe and effective method for treating back and neck pain and a healthy alternative to opioids for acute and long-term pain management,” Sylvain said. “Physical therapists manage spine pain with the use of manual therapy and prescribed exercise and are movement experts who can assist you with optimizing your functional capabilities through hands-on care and education.”

Sylvain said those currently experiencing low back and neck pain should stay active, try to continue doing as much of their normal routine as possible and avoid prolonged periods of bed rest as this can slow the recovery process. He also said that it’s important to take action if you are currently experiencing pain: The earlier you address the issue, the better the outcome.

Early referral to physical therapy is associated with lower utilization of advanced imaging, lumbar spinal injections, lumbar spine surgery, additional physician visits and use of opioids,” he said. “Seeking physical therapy is also cost-effective as patients with low back pain who consult physical therapists early in their treatment incur lower out of pocket, pharmacy, and outpatient medical costs.”

“We recognize that pain is an individualized experience and treating it takes a team,” Sylvain said. “If you are experiencing low back pain visit one of our Hartford Healthcare Network Rehabilitation clinics to get back on your feet.”