Working from home: How to alleviate back, neck and shoulder pain

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Working from home: How to alleviate back, neck and shoulder pain 1

Being sat in one spot all day is the most passive thing you can do, and this means you aren’t metabolising sugars and fats.

Research shows that long periods of sitting can have a detrimental impact on our health and wellbeing and cut years off our lives.

The World Health Organisation listed inactivity as the fourth biggest risk factor in global adult mortality.

Don’t worry, there are some exercises and other initiatives you can take to alleviate neck, shoulder and back pain when working from home during the lockdown, according to Badrul.

READ MORE- Back pain: A stretch to help


If you can’t stand and work, it is important to stand up and stretch instead.

Stretching is vital for maintaining good posture, especially when working at a desk for several hours a day.

It will also help to reduce back and neck pain significantly, he said.

Badrul explained: “Stand up every 30 minutes to stretch your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of sitting.

“Use a towel or broomstick to use for stretching.

“Holding the towel or broomstick with straight arms at either end, rotate back and forth over your head slowly.

“Doing this can help to open up your chest muscles and mobilise your back muscles.

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Experts will say that whatever you do, don’t work on your sofa, but not everyone has the luxury of having a home office with a desk and ergonomic chair.

Although, it will seem like the most comfortable place to work, the sofa is actually the worst place to work as it encourages you to slump and puts a huge amount of strain on your shoulder and neck area which you inevitably crane says Badrul.

He added: “If you have to work on a sofa then remember to get up and walk around your home. 

“Whilst walking, you could try some dynamic shoulder stretches.  Firstly, lift your shoulder and roll it back and squeeze the shoulder blades together and then allow the shoulders to depress, roll forward and then repeat this exercise. 

“You should also do this movement in reverse. Next, take a seat and try some dynamic neck exercises to mobilise the area. 

“You’ll need to move your head up and down, look to the left and right and also tilt to the left and right.  Do not hold the positions for any length of time because the neck is a particularly sensitive area.

“Regarding working on the sofa, if possible, try to change your position by sitting on the floor and putting your laptop on the sofa or coffee table.”

Standing desk

Back pain is one of the most common complaints of workers who sit all day. 

Badrul said: “We know that standing desks can decrease chronic back pain caused by prolonged sitting so why not create your own one at home. 

“Try standing up and working at the kitchen counter or position an ironing board at standing level. Position it next to a wall to create stability.

“To alleviate back pain caused by sitting, extend your spine in a superman position.  This involves positioning yourself on all fours on the floor in a table top position. 

“Then stretch your right arm in front of you and raise and stretch your left leg.  Whilst extended stay as straight as possible and keep hips square to the floor.

“Alternate with the opposite hands and legs. Hold the position for 10 secs and exend the time as you get more confident with the exercise.”


Why not try out these simple but effective deskercise routines put together by Badrul?

Follow this and in no time at all you’ll be feeling fresh and energized, but remember to keep a bottle of water handy.

Repeat each exercise 20 times.

Bottle dumbbell over-the-head press

Sitting on a chair, hold a bottle of water laterally in each hand, with your hands next to each ear.

Press above the crown of your head, making sure your upper arm finishes by the side of your head.

Bottle dumbbell skull-crushers

Laying on the floor with knees up, holding a bottle of water in each hand, extend your arms over your chest, keeping your arms straight, tilt your arms 20 degrees so your hands are over your face.

Bend your elbows so your hands come towards your shoulder but do not allow your shoulder to move. 

Then extend your arm back to the start position, maintaining no movement in the shoulder.

Bottle dumbbell curls

Holding a bottle in each hand, have each arm extended to the side of your torso.

Keeping your elbows tucked into your ribs, flex elbows in until hands almost align with your shoulders. Then slowly extend.

Reverse flyes

Resting your forehead on the back of your chair with bent knees, maintaining a neutral spine so that your torso is almost parallel with the floor.

Hang your arms below your chest  with a slight bend in your elbow.

Pull your arms and hands out laterally so they end up horizontal to the floor and lower them slowly back to the start position.

Standing calf raises

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forwards, raise yourself up onto your toes, then lower yourself down. Repeat 20 times.

Push-ups on your desk

Placing your hands on the edge of your desk, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the desk, then push off your hands to raise yourself back up.

Tricep dips on your desk

Facing away from your desk, place your hands on the edge and bend your elbows to lower your body whilst simultaneously bending your knees.

Then push yourself up again.

Knee tucks

Sit at the edge of your chair and hold onto the arm of the chair. Bring your knees and ankles together and raise your knees.


Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and bring your hips back to lower yourself.   Keep your chest up for maximum effectiveness and make sure you push through your heels to raise yourself back up.

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