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A chiropractor's advice on relieving the 'work from home' strain on your neck

Leaning over a laptop at the kitchen table is leading to headaches, back pain, and stiff muscles. Dr. Allyson Coffin has suggestions to help relieve that pain.

YARMOUTH, Maine — Millions of Americans are working from home; many of them from makeshift office spaces in their kitchen or a spare bedroom, or even from the couch.

Dr. Allyson Coffin is a chiropractor in Yarmouth. Her clinic, Align With Wellness, started seeing patients in person again a few months into the pandemic and many of those patients were complaining of headaches, kinks in their necks and wrists, and serious back pain.

There are stretches that you can do at home to help alleviate some of that pain, but first: change your work station set up. Prop your computer up on a stack of books. You want your eyes level with the top 1/3rd of the computer screen; that will take strain off of your neck. Since your laptop keyboard is now too high to reach, invest in a wireless keyboard that you can position much lower. If you're sitting on a hard surface, like a kitchen chair, you should scoot forward, forcing your posture to straighten. You can either pad the chair with a hard pillow or invest in a stability disc, which can be found online; Dr. Coffin also sells them at her office - just ask and Align With Wellness can deliver. 

Credit: NCM
Dr. Allyson Coffin holds a stability disc. When on a chair, it forces you to be more aware of your posture.

As mentioned, stretching is important. Take a minute every hour to roll your shoulders back; tilt your neck from side; and tilt your head back (no need to tilt down because you're already doing that when looking at your computer). 

You can also stand up and pull your arms up over your head, while tilting your head back. Hold that stretch for 30 seconds and release. It's always a good idea to take a break from what you're doing to walk around the house and stretch. 

Credit: NCM

It's also important to drink plenty of fluids; consuming half your body weight in water each day will help ease the pain in your muscles.

For more tips on stretching at home, you can follow Align With Wellness on Instagram and TikTok.

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