Working from home can be a mixed blessing. While you save commute time and improve work-life balance, you may not have the ergonomic advantages that your employer’s workplace provides. That might mean back pain.
The rise in work-from-home jobs corresponds with an increase in on-the-job musculoskeletal injuries, so as inviting as working from your sofa might seem, your body needs care and consideration to stay healthy and pain-free.
Little changes can make a big difference, so we’ve compiled four useful tips to manage (or avoid) back pain while working from home.
Perhaps the key to reducing or eliminating back pain is attention to posture throughout the workday.
It’s easy, when you’re concentrating on tasks, to lose body awareness. This can introduce slouching, crossed ankles, and unbalanced positioning that puts strain on your lower back without assistance from core muscles.
When you focus on good posture, sitting up straight means feet on the floor (or a footrest if necessary), knees bent at a 90-degree angle with elbows also as close to 90 degrees as possible.
Your waist should not create a right angle. Instead, a backward lean with lumbar support reduces the load your lower spine supports on its own. Sharing is good.
Concentration can also make time disappear. No matter what posture you’re in when focused, it becomes too much if you maintain a single position.
Do what you need to do to get up, stretch, and walk around briefly. Thirty seconds every 30 minutes is a good place to start, so set a timer and mix it up before resetting to a neutral, balanced posture as you resume work.
Attention to posture becomes wasted if your shoulders and neck bend forward to view a digital screen below eye level. This is common with laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Your ideal monitor height is at or just below eye height when you’re in your optimal posture.
Use dedicated or improvised stands to boost your screen. If this makes data entry impossible from a balanced posture, add an affordable wireless keyboard and mouse compatible with your primary work device.
While you may feel hidden by your monitor at first, your back and neck will enjoy an easier time as you do your job.
Improvised workspaces can be perfectly adequate if your work-from-home tenure is temporary. If it’s a permanent change, or if you’ll combine home and office time, invest in ergonomics.
Your first purchase should be an office chair that aids proper body position. A desk of the proper height for you could be next, freeing up your dining room table for its intended purpose.
There are many more fine-tuning tools and gadgets you can add, like wrist cushions or document holders. Every little bit helps, but when you’ve tackled the basics of good posture, you have a huge jump on managing back pain.
Call or click to reach us at Refresh Wellness when back pain flares. We’ll help you back to pain-free living, no matter where you’re working. Book a visit today at our Garland, Texas, office.