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Stiff Mid-Back Caused By Working From Home (Solutions)

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I’d like to share a story of how a stiff mid-back can become debilitating if not dealt with quickly. A close relative of mine started working from home for the first time during quarantine. He started calling me after a few weeks of working from home. My relative told me about some intense stiffness in his mid-back and neck.

Well, after some digging, we found that the cause was a makeshift “office” at his dining room table. He was using a tiny-sized chair for a man of his stature.

His pain was unrelenting, and required several injections and medications, followed by Physical Therapy, to manage his painful and stiff mid-back. It doesn’t have to go this far. An ounce of prevention (and maintenance) can go a long way.

A stiff mid-back is a common (and sometimes disabling) condition that occurs for several reasons. The most common reason is from working a desk job, or being inactive. This is particularly relevant at the time of writing this article. More people are working from home than ever before.

Where To Start With A Stiff Mid-Back

In addition to spending a great deal of time in front of a computer, most people working from home don’t have a proper office set-up. 

Several of my patients say working at their dining room tables with chairs that don’t fit them well. Worse, if a stiff mid-back is not addressed properly, it sometimes leads to further problems to your health.   

Fortunately, there are several things you can do right away to prevent this from happening and keep your spine healthy. 

Properly Sized Chair And Workstation

No amount of stretching or strengthening will matter, if you keep insulting your back with an improper chair or desk. Your dining room table is not the best place to work for hours on end.

How can you know how to size your workstation at home? I’ve covered this in great deal with this video:

Frequent Movement

I recommend moving for at least 30 seconds every 30 minutes. This may be something as simple as getting up and walking around for 30 seconds every 30 minutes.  

Sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time is difficult on your joints and muscles. Sitting for a prolonged period of time can also be part of the underlying cause of a stiff mid-back. Most of our daily life is right in front of us. This means our spines don’t get the chance to move the way they are designed. Ultimately, we end up with a stiff mid-back, and other health problems. 

Proper Stretching and Strengthening

If you’ve addressed the two suggestions above, you may also need to add some stretches and strengthening exercises to your daily routine. (Please note, this is not medical advice. Always check with your healthcare provider before implementing these exercises. Always stop any exercise that is uncomfortable or painful immediately.)

Your mid-back should be mobile and strong. When we start to develop a rounding (kyphosis) of the mid-back, it can cause problems to our shoulders and neck.

I created the video below to guide you on some simple stretches and strengthening exercises to help your stiff mid-back. I highly recommend you check out this video for some stretches and strengthening exercises from a professional. 

Are You Still Not Feeling 100% After Trying These Exercises? Still Struggling With A Stiff Mid-Back?

If you’re still not feeling like your stiff mid-back is resolving after making the above changes, it is time to consider Physical Therapy. Physical Therapists are trained professionals who can help you figure out your unique underlying cause of a stiff mid-back.


But Chris, I don’t live anywhere near you. How could you possibly help me?” Well here’s the great news …. Many people with mid-back pain or a stiff mid-back get help from the comfort of their own home. You may qualify for a FREE, NO Obligation, 15-Minute Phone Consult. If you’d like to speak with a rehabilitation professional, click this link to learn how we can help your stiff mid-back.

Chris S

Dr. Chris Sovey

Healthy Consumer PT

"We Help Adults 40+ Living With Pain, Stiffness, Or Loose Joints Get Healthy, Age Stronger, And Get Back To The Activities They Love, Even If Past Treatments Have Failed"


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