How to reduce neck & back pain when returning back to the office 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Back to work! The holiday season is done and it’s time to get back into the rhythm of things.

Whether it is back to working in an office, work from home or working at what your new normal is, it is very important to deal with the niggles that come up when working.

You always hear about tension building up in the neck or tightness in the back when working so why not prevent this from happening? Here are a few tips and tricks to help that niggle.

1. Have frequent and regular breaks 
Having frequent breaks around the house or workplace will help decrease sitting time. During these breaks it is good to destress a little, move around or even stretch. You can perform stretches on the ground or on the chair (especially if you really can’t get away from the desk). Maybe you want to place your water bottle elsewhere, so you must walk to get a drink of water.

2. Change your work station

Most people start off changing their working environment to a different set up that is more ergonomic and energy efficient. There has been previous research that has supported that modifying your work station can minimise you pains (Croone et al, 2010). It can also minimise you job dissatisfaction too! (Reznik et al, 2021). You can also take it one step further if your work requires you to talk and do video calls – make it wireless! Having a wireless headset will allow for you to get up and move whilst still working. Even if it is using your phone and a couple earphones. It will help get you away from the desk and get more step counts in the day. 

3. Exercise!

I would say the most important things to do is exercise. Dedicate time to get some physical activity in your day. There is enough research out there that states that exercise can help improve quality of life, physical health and mental health (Okuyan & Begen, 2021). Exercise is great for stress reduction.

4. Reduce Stress 

You must think holistically when it comes to your health and pain prevention. Not only must think physically, but you must also think mentally. Mental exhaustion is just as bad as physical exhaustion. Think about your diet – are you eating cleaner? Healthier? What about sleep? – do you have a full 7-8hrs? Are you having deep sleep? 

What to do if you have that niggling pain? 

DON’T AVOID IT! Don’t ignore the discomfort and let it build up. You want to get on top of it and not let it linger. It is good to try simple stretching and strengthening exercises that can help minimise the risk and pain from prolonging any further. These can be as simple as a basic neck stretch or lower back stretch.  

My top 3 stretching picks when I work at a desk for too long are there: 

  • Seated Cat-Cows

Check out this video on how to perform this stretch here.

  • Shoulder Stretch and Side Bending

Check out this video on how to perform a seated shoulder stretch and side bend here.

  • Seated Pigeon Stretch

Check out how to perform a seated pigeon stretch here

What happens if it still doesn’t go away?  

This is time where you should come visit our team at Physio Inq Harrington Park or Physio Inq Camden. As Physiotherapists, we are allied health professionals who are trained in assessing the situation and will help get that discomfort sorted for you.  

If you would like to make a booking with us, you can use the links below: 

  • Make an appointment with Physio Inq Harrington Park. Click here. 
  • Make an appointment with Physio Inq Camden. Click here.


Birimoglu Okuyan, C. and Begen, M.A., 2022. Working from home during the COVID‐19 pandemic, its effects on health, and recommendations: The pandemic and beyond. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 58(1), pp.173-179. 

De Croon, E., Sluiter, J., Kuijer, P.P. and Frings-Dresen, M., 2005. The effect of office concepts on worker health and performance: a systematic review of the literature. Ergonomics, 48(2), pp.119-134. 

Reznik, J., Hungerford, C., Kornhaber, R. and Cleary, M., 2022. Home-based work and ergonomics: physical and psychosocial considerations. Issues in mental health nursing, 43(10), pp.975-979.

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