Back pain in the home office? See 9 tips to relieve them

Back pain is common in the home office, but there are tips that will improve your home life. Photo: Bigstock

More than a year and a half after the Covid-19 pandemic, the home office has become routine for many workers and has been identified by them as a factor in worsening back pain and back problems.

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A study conducted by Italian researchers and published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that 23.5% of people working remotely complained of neck pain and 41% of back pain. Another scientific work, this one carried out by scientists from Saudi Arabia, showed that the prevalence of low back pain increased during the forties: it went from 38.8% to 43.8% among research participants.

“Back pain is the most common complaint along with social isolation. They are linked to the change in the working environment and to the improvisation of home offices ”, underlines physiotherapist Jecilene Rosana Costa, specialist in exercise physiology, clinical neurology and health management at the University of State of Campinas (Unicamp).

Among the most common complaints are pain in the cervical spine (neck and neck) and lower back, which may or may not radiate to the arms and legs. Although less common, discomfort in the dorsal region, between the shoulder blades, is also reported.

common causes

The discomfort usually occurs due to a combination of habits that affect posture, such as staying in the same position for several hours using a computer or cell phone, sitting poorly, and bending over. head forward for long periods. Relieving pain requires adapting the workstation and paying attention to posture, especially when using electronic devices.

“Every effort without compensation tends to be overloaded and injured. Usually, these bruises are musculoskeletal, overloading the joint or a muscle, precisely because they put too much strain on this structure, ”explains Diego Leite de Barros, exercise physiologist at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and director of DLB ​​Assessoria. Esportiva.

According to experts, making ergonomic adjustments at work is essential to prevent or reduce pain. In addition to maintaining correct posture, use adequate office supplies, such as a laptop stand, keyboard, mouse, and height-adjustable chair. See below for other guidelines:

Always keep your spine straight, aligned and supported on the back of the chair, lower back and buttocks should also be against your back; avoid this part of your body further forward.If you have difficulty keeping your lower back against the chair, use a small pillow so that it does not become unsupported. Always keep your neck aligned with the rest of your body, without tilting your head forward. To do this, position the computer so that the center of the screen is at eye level. If you don’t have a laptop stand, use stacked books as the base for the notebook, the chair should be at the perfect height so that your knees are bent 90 degrees. Rest your feet completely on the floor. You can use a stool or stand up if necessary Bring your body closer to the worktable so that you do not bend your spine, shoulders or neck.Keep your forearms flat and at a 90 degree angle, and keep your elbows close to your torso and your wrists straight. tasks every half hour or hour


When pain or discomfort persists even after ergonomic adjustments, it is recommended to consult an orthopedist or physiotherapist. “The ideal is to do prevention work. If there is already an established lesion, it is necessary to carry out an individualized treatment ”, reinforces Barros.

To alleviate the discomfort, physiotherapists often work with stretching and strengthening exercises. RPG (Global Postural Re-education) sessions may also be recommended to improve posture and body alignment. “Myofascial release techniques [manobras para relaxar os músculos] and manual therapies can complement treatment, ”says Costa.

When there is no early intervention, the pain can progress to chronic lesions, requiring more complex treatment. In some cases, long periods of physiotherapy or surgery are necessary.

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