4 immediate changes you can make to stop back pain while working from home
While working from home amid the current pandemic, you may find yourself with an improvised desk that is literally a pain in the back.
Many people don’t have proper chairs, are working from their bed and some are even hunched over coffee tables. However, there are some simple adjustments you can make to help make working from home as comfortable and productive as possible:
- Check your posture - Prolonged sitting and slouching can contribute to back pain. Help maintain good posture by sitting up straight, shoulders relaxed, placing your bottom all the way back on the chair, knees bent at a 90 degree angle, legs uncrossed and with both feet flat on the floor. You can also avoid slouching on any chair by placing a rolled up towel or small pillow behind your low back.
- Change your position – Being in one position for prolonged periods can lead to back pain. Try to vary your posture between sitting and standing throughout the day, ideally every hour. If you have the option, grab your standing desk from work and bring it home, otherwise a makeshift standing desk (using boxes, books or containers) on your dining table or kitchen bench will suffice. If you struggle to type or write standing up, standing for meetings and calls is a great way to incorporate positional changes frequently throughout the day.
- Consider you laptop - Laptops are not very ergonomic and can contribute to back pain. This is because the monitor and keyboard are combined, so either the screen will be too low and your head will slouch, or the keyboard will be too high and your shoulders will be up closer to your ears. If you use a laptop, help prevent back pain by getting a separate keyboard and mouse or using a separate monitor. Remember, your screen height needs to be at eye level and a full arms length away from you, while your keyboard and mouse should be used with your elbows tucked into your side at 90 degrees.
- Move regularly - Our bodies need to be active every 30 minutes. Working from home has reduced most of the incidental movement we do at the office, such as walking to the copy room or to speak to a colleague. This is why it’s even more important to remind yourself to move. You can easily do this by setting a timer on your phone or smart watch. The idea of regular breaks is to promote blood flow and muscle contraction, so something as simple as marching on the spot for 30 seconds is enough.
If you would like more advice on your posture and desk ergonomics while working from home chat to one of our Chiropractors!