Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the number of people working from home has grown significantly. Most residential settings, however, simply don’t have the space to accommodate today’s ergonomic office furniture, nor do most people invest in it, especially if they do the bulk of their work in the office. So if you are working from your home, it’s likely that you are either using your computer on a regular table or a kitchen countertop, or you are in a lounge chair or on your bed. Wherever you’ve camped out for the day, chances are you aren’t in a healthy posture, and might experience some back and neck pain. If you do this for only short periods of time, you might not need to worry, but our weeks at home are turning into months. And even after the pandemic has passed, remote working is likely to remain the norm for millions of workers, as companies learn that certain jobs don’t require the in-office hours they once did.
By implementing some easy measures as outlined below, you can help to beat that nagging back pain and also prevent it from getting worse.
View your computer screen with a straight neck
Put your screen in front of you at a comfortable viewing height. Don’t look down at your screen, like to a laptop on a table or to your phone. And don’t angle your screen so you must twist your neck–some people like to put their keyboard and mouse in front of them with their screen off to the side, but then they end up dealing with neck pain from the swiveling. If you have a separate screen or if you are using a laptop, you might have to put it on a pile of books or on a cardboard box to raise it to a comfortable viewing position straight in front of you.
Proper posture can help take the stress off your neck and elbows. Prolonged sitting forces your spine’s natural “S” curve into a “C” curve, which puts more stress on your muscles, ligaments, discs and tissue. Use these tips to help position yourself properly in your chair:
- Ears are over your shoulder (not in front of your shoulders).
- Elbows by your sides with wrists comfortably resting on a round or soft surface. (Hand towels and wrist gel pads work well.)
- Support your back with your chair, using a small lumbar pillow or towel roll.
- Feet should be flat on the floor. Use a footrest, stack of books or even reams of paper.
Sit in a chair that is comfortable and, if possible, adjustable
It’s understandable that most people don’t have the money to buy a proper office chair and instead will have to use a chair from their dining table. If so, grab some pillows for additional padding and roll up a towel to place near the lower back for lumbar support.
Experimenting with different chairs, for example, one with a back and one without a back, can also provide relief. Some chairs and stools have adjustable heights that could also put you in an optimal ergonomic position.
Take stretch breaks
Avoid staying stationary when you’re working. Instead, try to get up every 45-50 minutes, even if it’s just to walk around the room. View our list of 6 easy stretches you can do at home to help strengthen and support your back.
Seek help (and schedule a massage!)
It is a good idea to seek professional help if your find your back pain persists or gets worse. Besides the obvious relief from general muscle and back pain, massage also offers a host of other health benefits such as stress release, increased circulation, decreases fatigue and it most of all, it is enjoyable! Make use of our package promotion that makes regular massage sessions more affordable.