Because of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, many people are now working from home instead of going into their office. The good news is working from home has many positive aspects, such as increased flexibility and productivity, less time in the car commuting and the ability to stay in your comfy clothes all day. However, it also can have negative consequences, such as increased back pain due to poor posture.
Here are a few tips to help prevent and relieve back pain while working from home.
Have adequate lower back support
While it may be more relaxed and comfortable, it’s not good for your back to work sitting on your couch or laying in bed. One of the best options is to use an ergonomic chair with a curve supporting proper posture. Or, if you are on the couch or using a traditional office chair, roll up a towel and place it horizontally in the small of your lower back. You could also use a pillow to help provide support.
Set up your work space properly
If you’re using a computer, keep it at least an arm’s distance away from you. The top of the screen should be at eye level so you aren’t straining your neck looking up or down. Keep your legs uncrossed with your feet flat on the floor and knees at about a 90-degree angle. If you aren’t at a desk, try to keep your laptop supported so your hands naturally rest on the keyboard, with shoulders relaxed and elbows bent.
Move and stretch at least once every hour
Moving for a few minutes every hour will help your body release tension. If you can, try to move even more often, specifically every 20-30 minutes. You can take a quick walk, play with your pet or try one of these stretches:
- Shoulder Shrugs: Stand up straight. Shrug your shoulders by bringing them up toward your ears and holding for 3-5 seconds. Release and repeat 3-5 times.
- Back and Chest Stretch: Stand up and clasp your hands behind your head. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold it for 5-6 seconds. Take a breath and repeat.
- Child’s Pose: With your hands and knees on the ground, sink back through your hips and rest them on your heels. Hinge at your hips and fold forward, walking your hands out in front of you. Rest your belly on your thighs, and extend your arms in front or alongside you with palms facing up.
- Pelvic Tilt: Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Engage your ab muscles as you flatten your back against the floor. Breathing normally, hold this position for up to 10 seconds. Release and take a few breaths before repeating.
Exercise can help keep you healthy, strengthen your muscles, and relieve tension and stress. By working to strengthen your muscles, you can help prevent back pain and muscle fatigue. And, you’ll feel better and more energized while getting your work done.
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