Neck pain from working at my desk

Hi parents, 

A bit of a strange request but probably one that those working from home can relate to. I have been having really bad neck pain since May that's 100% correlated to me working at my desk. I have been seeing a chiropractor, got an adjustable-height desk, modified my setup multiple times, and nothing seems to work. The only time I'm not in anguish is when I'm not working (yes, it's not lost on me that this might not be entirely due to ergonomics). Is there someone in this community/do you know someone who would come to watch me work and tell me what I'm doing wrong? Happy to compensate you/them for the time.

Thank you!

Parent Replies

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Try Esther Gokhale and the Gokhale method:

You didn't mention your desk chair but it is really important. I have been working at home for years as a software engineer so I'm sitting at a desk on the computer all the time. It is critical to have a really good office chair. Way more important than your desk IMO.  You need lumbar support and adjustable armrests so your body is in a good position while you are working.  I love my Aeron chair, which I got at Design Within Reach about 10 years ago. You can go to the store in Berkeley and try them out.  This chair is an investment but it's worth it if you are spending 8 hours or more a day sitting in a chair. It's far cheaper than a chiropractor or, heaven forbid, back surgery!

Hi there! I'm so sorry to hear about your pain! We've used Allen Yagjian with Ergobility. He's an ergonomics consultant who will come to your home or do a video visit if preferred. I found that some of the setup advice was completely new for me -- just various parameters I'd never considered. I highly recommend him! You can reach him at yagjian [at] Good luck!!!

I highly recommend the physical therapist Liz Gillem, in North Oakland. She calls her practice Body Temple and she had me send her photos and videos of how I was standing at my desk. She is exceptional at body work and PT suggestions too- she helped me to the point that I am no longer in pain.

I’ll add another recommendation for a good desk chair. I recently upgraded to a Steelcase Leap which allows me to sit in a somewhat reclined position vs bolt upright. This takes a lot of pressure off my upper back and neck which is critical for me - I broke my neck and have 3 fused cervical vertebrae.

It’s an expensive chair. I bought mine used at Berkeley Office Interiors which was way cheaper than new, but not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. They have a lot of used chairs (most far less expensive than the leap), so it’s definitely worth a visit. Call ahead for an appointment.

My spouse uses the chair whenever I’m not using it and finds it quite comfortable / preferable to his own. But he has no injuries and can work in a dining chair without pain, so he doesn’t see the need for such an upgrade for his own workstation.

I'm happy to add another chair recommendation.  Even as you work out your ergonomic setup and posture, a quality, fully adjustable chair is of the utmost importance.    My favorite chairs are from OM Seating (formerly Office Master), especially the YES (YS) series and Patriot (PA) series.   The chairs are durable and high quality, and cost less than Aeron or Steelcase.  I work in a big office and we have a lot of chairs, including Office Master, Steelcase, Aeron and other chairs, so I had a nice opportunity to try out various ones in the real world.    The chair model you choose within any series depends a lot on your height.    Website references for the above:  but to get pricing or buy,  contact or  Ergodirect makes it very easy to see the price, ask for advice, place the order and has great customer service.  Cubesolutions might be a little cheaper if you already know exactly what you want.    Whatever chair you are considering, look up youtube videos on that model or brand of chair, so you can see it in action, see the adjustments and collect information.