Work from Home – Without Wrecking Your Body

We saw a lot of changes to our daily lives during the pandemic: from where we eat, to social gatherings, to kids’ school routines, and -of course- our jobs. Many jobs even moved from in-person, to flexible, to totally remote. Some jobs remained remote, meaning a variety of workspaces at home. We noticed that the physical toll for many was obvious…

Back, Neck, & Nerve Pain – Oh, My! 

At Body One, we noticed that in the early days of the pandemic we saw many patients come in for neck, back, shoulder, and related-nerve pain. Patients were sitting at home on comfy furniture and slouching while they worked – often on laptops. We know that research shows for every inch your head extends over your chest, you actually add 15 pounds of pressure to your neck (cervical spine).

That means that when you sit in your favorite chair or on the couch, or work at the kitchen table on a laptop, you’re likely slouching and adding the weight of an extra head (or two) to your neck! Shoulder pain, back pain, and nerve pain are also caused by -and made worse by- this poor posture and lack of support. At your regular job, you likely were working at a desk, with a supportive office chair. You might have even had a standing desk which allowed you to work while standing and avoid slouching in a seat.

Most everyone was unprepared for a sudden move to working from home, and had to make do with a laptop and whatever space was available. This led to the increase in back, neck, and nerve pain that many of our Physical Therapists began to see.

How to Do it Right

Over time, people began to figure it out and set up healthier work stations. Instead of the couch/laptop combo, people began to set up work stations that were similar to an office setting. We began to see fewer patients with these specific work-related complaints. Whether it’s because a spouse has returned to work and freed up space, or the reality of the long-term shift to telework has kicked in, creating a healthier at-home work environment is essential.

If you work from home and want to ensure that you keep good posture and help prevent back, shoulder, neck, and nerve pain related to teleworking, let’s get started:

  • Choose a chair with a firm back
  • Add a pillow or rolled-up towel at your lower back for support
  • Work at a desk or firm surface (not on your lap)
  • Invest in a separate keyboard, mouse, and monitor -laptops are typically pretty hard to use without falling into bad posture habits. (Computer extras too pricey? Try your local Goodwill or thrift shop!)
  • When using your keyboard and mouse, keep your hands in line with your elbow (picture a right angle). You don’t want to have to reach to type or click.
  • Put your monitor at eye level, so you don’t have to strain your neck looking down. You can get a stand, or even use a solid, thick book.
  • With some companies saying they don’t know when they’ll return to the office, and others announcing they plan to remain a remote workplace, it’s time to upgrade your home office setting – if you haven’t already.
  • Also remember to move: take breaks, get up, stretch, and walk – even if it’s only down the hall.


It’s probably past time to upgrade your at-home work environment, if you haven’t already. Making some basic changes can mean the difference between working comfortably and painfully not working – or needing to see one of our providers to resolve your symptoms.

If working at home (or other activities) has caused pain or movement problems, the team at Body One PT is here to help get you back to feeling your best. We’re locally owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Indy/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. We work with clients of all ages and activity levels, and if you’re ready to work from home and feel good doing it, we’re ready to help you do it. Call or click today!