SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- We’re a year into the pandemic and over that time, many people have switched to working remotely. If you're one of those people experiencing pain and discomfort in your new setting, we’re getting answers from a local physical therapist on how to make working at home a bit more comfortable.
Tiffany Maruca came back from maternity leave in June last year during the early months of the pandemic and moved right into working from home. That change in workspace has contributed to some physical discomfort.
“The slouching, the back, and like I said, the neck -- the constant staring down, the being on a computer all day. I would get some headaches at the end of the day,” Maruca said.
Western Mass News is getting answers from Baystate Health physical therapist Andrew Batchelder, who said he's seen an increase in patients seeking help after dealing with this pain for months.
“My first question would be ‘Well, what changed nine months ago?’ and they would say ‘I transitioned home’ or ‘Now, I'm taking care of my kids with remote learning and I'm finding myself sitting a lot throughout the day,’” Batchelder explained.
Batchelder suggested setting a timer to get up and stretch and use the 20-20-20 rule, which is when you look up from your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away. It could decrease headaches, too. He said those used to sitting in an office setting used to have other ways to move around.
“…Whereas if they're home, they're sitting at the dining room table, they're sitting at a stool at the island, maybe they're on the couch in a really slouched position,” Batchelder noted.
That is exactly what Maruca did - sitting on a barstool in her kitchen with her laptop - so she had to make an adjustment.
“I was able to order a couple monitors, a docking station, and then I just took over my whole dining room table,” Maruca said.
Batchelder said the change begins by making sure your at-home work space is comfortable.
“That way, we're not going to be going into a position where really hyperextended or protracted forward, as well as making sure that out shoulder blades are going to be back and instead of rounding forward being in this position,” Batchelder added.