The sudden rush to working from home made it impossible for workers to properly set up their offices. At work, you may experience the luxury of an ergonomic chair, a standing desk, or perhaps ergonomic mouses. At your home office, you’re lucky if you have a chair. There are a few tips you can use to help reduce back pain while working at home. Here are some of them.
1. Use the Right Posture
The spine rests naturally in an S shape. This is the preferred posture for the spine to be in. Unfortunately, without an office chair or set-up that promotes this configuration, most workers end up in a C-shape instead.
This is problematic. The shape stresses the muscles and ligaments. There are a few adjustments that you can make to ensure you’re sitting with the best possible posture for your spine.
The first is to hold your head in a way that keeps your ears above your shoulders. Workers have a tendency to lean their heads forward in order to see the screen better. Pushing the head back can save your neck and back from a lot of pain.
Your elbows should rest at your sides. A problem many workers have is with their wrists. Due to the edge of a desk, it can be easy to rub your wrists against the edge and cause pain. It may even impact how quickly you develop carpal tunnel.
To avoid putting stress on your wrists, you should use a soft and rounded material on the edge. Your wrists should rest on it. Rolled-up towels work well to support your wrists if you’re unable to get wrist gel pads.
Your chair can also determine how well your posture is. Most office chairs still need some sort of support. A lumbar pillow works well to give your lower back the support that it needs. If you don’t have one, then you can also use a rolled-up towel to give yourself support.
Finally, your feet should be flat on the floor. If you’re unable to reach the floor due to your chair and desk set-up, then you’ll want to get a footstool. Even a stack of books can provide your feet with the support that you need.
Following these tips can encourage your spine to return to its normal S-shape conformation. You’ll wake up with less back pain and feel more rested after work.
2. Keep Computer Screen or Laptop Close
If your computer screen or laptop is too far away from you, then your body is going to want to naturally get close to it. You may find yourself leaning in to try and read the screen better. Your arms may be pulled from their ideal position in order to reach the keyboard.
You should adjust your screen, laptop, and keyboard to ensure you’re able to maintain the best posture for your back. Start with your screen. It should be no further back than an arm’s length away. It should also be three inches taller than your line of vision.
Those who have laptops will want to push their screen back a few degrees to simulate this.
It’s this location that’s a sweet spot for the body. It’s trying to find that spot naturally on its own.
Your keyboard setup and mouse location are also important. Your keyboard should always be right in front of you. The mouse should be right at the side of the keyboard. Keep the pad in this location to ensure it doesn’t run away.
Those who use a laptop face a unique problem. They may need their keyboard to be a bit closer, but doing so forces their arms and body into a different position due to the proximity of the screen. One option is to use a freestanding keyboard. This is a keyboard that you can plug into the laptop and use instead of the keyboard that comes with the laptop.
This enables you to position the keyboard where you need it while having the screen at the appropriate distance and height.
3. Change Your Position
During your brief break, you should take the time to implement some exercises to relax your muscles, keep your spine healthy, and keep up the circulation in your body. One of those exercises should be to roll your shoulders. You’ll want to roll them three times in the backward position.
Next, you’ll want to roll your neck. Start by rolling your neck to the front of your chest, then roll it towards one shoulder, move to your back, then let it roll to your other shoulder. This should be done three times.
To keep blood circulating through your body, you should breathe deeply. Take two large inhales and exhale them sharply. This can make you feel a bit more awake and alert as well.
Finally, you should perform five squats in your office. This can help strengthen your lower back, make sure your leg muscles are being activated, and strengthen your overall core.
4. Prevention Through Exercise
Outside of work, you can also use a few different tactics to prevent back pain. Walking regularly for 30 minutes can strengthen your lower back and keep you fit. There are other exercises you can perform that can help to strengthen your lower back as well.
Bridges is a popular exercise form that can strengthen your spine and glute area. It requires you to lay on your back, then to push your hips upwards up off of the floor and hold it there for a certain length of time.
You can also perform knee-to-chest stretches to stretch the spine and core area. This may improve circulation as well.
Another stretch that can help your spine’s health is rotational stretches. These should be done lying down. Holding your arms out on the floor, you then use your knees to twist to one side of the body, holding there, then rotating your hips to the other side of your body and holding there.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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