Written By: Shana Carter PT, DPT, OCS, UDN-C



Since the COVID-19 pandemic made an unapologetic entry into our world in 2020, so many things in our lives have changed, including a rapid and vast increase in work-from-home job opportunities. While the changes in the availability of work-from-home options made many employees so very happy, this change also resulted in an increase in cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pain! Many factors may have contributed to this increase in pain and disability; let us examine some of the most reported causes!

  • Poor ergonomic setup at work-from-home stations may increase the risk for cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pain as well as eyestrain and cervicogenic headaches (Lee et al., 2020).
  • Increased work times resulting in increased amounts of sitting and computer work.
  • Poor postural support and unawareness during the workday.
  • Not stretching or moving frequently enough compared to the amount of time spent sitting.
  • Being resistant to ergonomic workstation changes in favor of what we are used to doing. (Sigurdsson et al., 2012).
  • Poor follow-through with changing “bad” habits and incorporating healthier habits may increase the risk for overuse injuries such as eyestrain headaches, cervicogenic headaches, TMJ pain, and cervicalgia (Gardner et al., 2012).
  • Poor patient compliance with the completion of exercises and stretches prescribed negatively affects prognosis and outcomes in patients with cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pain (Argent et al., 2018).
  • Patients who take responsibility for their own health and wellness routines as prescribed by their clinician demonstrate improved outcomes when compared to patients who view their health and wellness as being the responsibility of their medical providers (Argent et al., 2018).

In the ever-changing work-from-home environment, willingness to learn and adapt to new challenges can improve the work-from-home experience and decrease the risk of both acute and chronic overuse injuries resulting from increased workload demands and poor ergonomic setup!

Interested in learning more? Register for my upcoming Summit Live Webinar on September 5th, Functional Ergonomic Solutions. This course will cover the fundamentals of proper workstation ergonomics and common musculoskeletal injuries related to poor ergonomic setup. Review relative case studies and discuss and implement functional treatment strategies based on case study presentations. After this course, you will be able to review a patient’s ergonomic setup and implement treatment techniques immediately upon return to your clinical setting. I hope to see you there!

When I am not teaching or working on a contract as a traveling DPT, my husband and I love to travel and explore! We also do big dog rescue and currently have 5 dogs! Just a few pictures below of us on our adventures last year in Spain and some of our furbabies!



Visit summit-education.com for more information.



Argent R, Daly A, Caulfield B. Patient Involvement With Home-Based Exercise Programs: Can Connected Health Interventions Influence Adherence? JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 Mar 1;6(3):e47. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.8518. PMID: 29496655; PMCID: PMC5856927.

Lee S, DE Barros FC, DE Castro CSM, DE Oliveira Sato T. Effect of an ergonomic intervention involving workstation adjustments on musculoskeletal pain in office workers-a randomized controlled clinical trial. Ind Health. 2021 Mar 24;59(2):78-85. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2020-0188. Epub 2020 Nov 28. PMID: 33250456; PMCID: PMC8010160.

Sigurdsson SO, Artnak M, Needham M, Wirth O, Silverman K. Motivating ergonomic computer workstation setup: sometimes training is not enough. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2012;18(1):27-33. doi: 10.1080/10803548.2012.11076912. PMID: 22429527; PMCID: PMC3985273