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Is Working from Home a Pain in Your Neck?

Millions of Americans are loving their work-from-home experience. But the shift from traditional office environments to home-based setups brings a new set of challenges, including chronic pain.

Dr. John S. Michels is an award-winning pain management physician with a busy practice in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. He specializes in nonsurgical solutions for chronic and acute pain, designing personalized treatment strategies tailored to your needs.

One of the most common complaints Dr. Michels and our team hear from remote workers is neck pain. Read why that is, the treatments Dr. Michels offers to relieve your discomfort, and his tips for preventing work-related neck pain.  

Understanding the problem

Along with muscle aches and pains, neck discomfort may be related to changes in the spine, including conditions that affect spinal joints (arthritis) and discs (herniated discs).

These changes often inflame and irritate (pinch) nearby nerves. This leads to varying degrees of pain and other symptoms that may travel into your head, shoulders, and arms.

Neck pain related to work-from-home tasks may be the result of certain habits that can eventually lead to chronic conditions, including:

Poor posture

Poor sitting posture strains neck muscles. You may feel posture-related discomfort in your upper back and shoulders, too. Poor posture is also a common cause of chronic headaches.

And you’re not off the hook if most of your work is on a phone or tablet. Frequently looking down at these devices can affect muscles and change the spine’s curvature over time.

Improper ergonomics

An inadequate ergonomic setup, including incorrect monitor height, chair position, or desk height, contributes to neck strain. It may be tempting to settle into your favorite spot on the couch when working from home, but an ergonomically correct workspace can prevent chronic pain.

Cervical spondylosis

Early degenerative changes due to cervical spondylosis (neck arthritis) are often triggered or exacerbated by poor posture over time.

Herniated cervical discs

Poor posture during work tasks and the resulting spinal misalignment can contribute to herniated discs in your neck. These damaged discs can crowd nearby nerves, sometimes causing pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in your arms and hands.

Preventing neck pain

Try these home care strategies to prevent or address mild neck pain due to remote work:

Our team also recommends scheduling a visit with Dr. Michels for moderate to severe pain that limits range of motion or if your discomfort persists for more than a few days despite home care measures.

Treating neck pain

Dr. Michels starts treatment with a comprehensive evaluation to identify the underlying cause of your discomfort. He then develops an individualized treatment plan that may include the following:


Dr. Michels may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, or analgesics to help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.

Physical therapy

You may benefit from a formal physical therapy program that includes exercises, stretches, manual therapy techniques, and modalities such as heat, ice, or ultrasound therapy to improve neck strength, flexibility, and function.

Dr. Michels may also recommend minimally invasive procedures that can quickly alleviate neck pain, including:

Dr. Michels aims to address pain at its source and offer support throughout your course. Thus, your treatment plan evolves according to your response to therapy.

For instance, once your pain has calmed, he may recommend physical therapy to improve posture, as well as education on proper ergonomics, and other lifestyle modifications to reduce your risks of future neck pain.

You don’t have to live with pain. Instead, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Michels today by calling our Dallas office or requesting an appointment online.

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