The concept of working from home was becoming more common on its own, but the introduction of the COVID-19 crisis moved millions of employees suddenly home. This sudden move proved to many companies that the arrangement was not only productive, but it could save them money. As businesses have now been given the ok to reopen, a growing number of them are choosing to allow their employees to stay home more often.
All of these stay-at-home employees find themselves in a vastly different work environment, and may kick up their heels on the coffee table or sit in their favorite recliner to get their job done. Unfortunately, the ergonomic realities which keep your neck and back healthy through long work days exist at home as well.
If you have recently begun working from home – or you simply need some relief – here are some tips to help you minimize or eliminate back and neck pain .
- To properly align your head while working, position your computer screen at eye level. Protect your neck fromharmful curvatures by avoiding looking down at your cell phone or Ipad all day. Position these devices at eye level as well, or use your elbows to prop up your arms so that the device is in front of your face. Although this may seem like a small step,your head weighs 12 + pounds , and constantly dropping it down to your chest causes a lot of weight and pressure on the neck and spine.
- Your arms should be positioned comfortably at your sides with your elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees. Keeping wrists neutral and parallel to the floor matt be easier with a plug-n-play keyboard.
- In order to protect your back, make sure your feet are touching the floor. If you cannot touch the floor, consider a box or stool to elevate your feet and to keep your legs in the proper position. Keep your knees bent at 90 degrees or slightly extended. Do not cross your legs, Slouching or resting your feet on the rungs can cause back strain. A lumbar pillow can help with proper positioning if you cannot invest in an ergonomically designed chair.
Additional Tips to Save Your Neck & Back
- Change your sleeping position: If you sleep on your stomach, chances are your neck is being strained by resting turned to the side all night. Try instead to sleep on your back with pillows under your knees, or on either side with a pillow between your knees. The pillows help to relieve pressure and support your spine’s natural curvature. Make sure you also have a pillow pulled down to support your neck as well as your head.
- Work on your abs: You’ve heard people talking about developing a strong core. This is because strong ab muscles will significantly reduce pain in your back. Unfortunately, the crunches and sit-ups often do more harm than good. Instead, build up your abs with a yoga plank pose.
- Stretch your legs: People working at desks often have more lower back pain than those with physical jobs. Standing after long hours of sitting causes our tight hamstrings to pull on our pelvis, causing alignment issues. Stand up often, stretch your hamstrings and make sure to stay loose and you will minimize many of these problems.
- Perfect your posture: Sit up straight, without leaning back or forward. Many who work on laptops suffer from poor posture, as the device sits on their lap or on a surface too low for proper viewing. As discussed above, keeping your screen at eye level will minimize problems – use books or platforms to raise the laptop and preserve your posture
If you are experiencing neck and back pain, whether from working from home or as a result of trauma or car accident – call West Coast Wellness today. Our doctors of chiropractic are dedicated to your overall health and wellness, and look forward to treating and alleviating your pain.