10 tips to prevent back pain during work from home
COVID-19 has not spared even a single person from its aftermath. For most of the working population, the aftereffects have come in the shape of ‘remote working’. While working from home has a whole bunch of benefits, it also has a few drawbacks. Neck and back pain tops the list of disadvantages of home-based working. In this article, we have compiled some tips to prevent back pain during work from home.
Here is the best work from home guide from Dr Reetadyuti Mukhopadhyay, a leading shoulder and sports injury specialist at the CK Birla Hospital.
Why do you need work from home advice?
In the face of worldwide lockdown, corporations have asked their employees to operate from homes. Interestingly enough, people have found creative ways to benefit from this situation.
There is a full package of advantages of teleworking. For instance,
- You can spend the entire day in your pajamas.
- There are no restrictions on snacking while you work.
- You do not have to travel to your workplace.
However, staying back at home for several months has transformed us into couch potatoes. You are attracting musculoskeletal problems as you grow more relaxed in the new norm. An increasing number of people are experiencing debilitating pain in their back.
You can easily prevent back pain while working from home by practicing these tips.
How to maintain a healthy back?
Maintaining a healthy back is all about lifestyle changes. You will have to give up on the sedentary way of life that you have been practicing so far.
WFH back pain can be avoided effortlessly with the help of these tips and tricks:
Set a separate work station
Remote working gives you the liberty to work while sitting, standing or even lying down. However, this home rule can be very costly for your back. Just because you can work from your bed, does not mean that you should.
It is suggested that you set out a distinct work station for office hours. It could be your living room, study room or even balcony. The idea is to get out of bed and work while maintaining a good posture.
Find your ideal chair
You may be surprised to learn but your couch or sofa is not the best place for work. If you wish to hold a good posture that supports your back, then you would require a chair that helps you sit comfortably straight and upright.
You should avoid sitting on soft and fluffy furniture. You should lean forward towards your screen or slouch back in your chair.
Stretch your back in the morning
One of the ways on how to reduce back pain while working from home is to stretch. You should start your day with basic stretching exercises with additional focus on the back. Stretching your back in the morning will help you begin your day with a good body form.
Support your lower back
When sitting upright, your lower spine will feel most stress and pressure. It is, thus, important to provide extra support to the lower back. You can simply roll a towel or use a log-shaped pillow to help maintain the posture and decrease the pain.
This work from home advice is not restricted to WFH. You can also practice it while sitting in your office chair when the lockdown reopens.
Place your computer screen at a comfortable height
You should aim to keep your computer screen on a table that offers a straight view. If the height of your screen is too high or low, you will most likely suffer from neck strain.
This strain can further expand into the back and the shoulder. Your neck should be positioned at a straight level for maintaining healthy back.
Make sure to move every hour
One of the cons of work from home is restricted to bodily movements. You only required a system and internet to complete your day-long tasks. However, moving your body is just as important as keeping a good posture.
If you sit consistently for long hours, your body will start to feel stiff. It is advised that you make short movements throughout the day. You can set an alarm for each hour that reminds you to take a walk within the house.
Exercises for correct posture
A few exercises can be done to prevent back pain while working from home. These exercises do not require spacious workout areas and are ideal for indoors.
- Shoulder blade squeezes- This exercise is as simple as it sounds. You have to sit straight and squeeze your shoulder blades inwards at the back. You should hold this posture for 5-6 seconds before relaxing. This exercise can be repeated 10-15 times and done twice a day for a good and healthy back.
- Chin tucks – Chin tucks can also be done while sitting or standing. You just have to bring your chin closer to your face without looking down. The idea is to make a “double-chined” face. Similar to shoulder blades, this workout can be repeated 10-15 times in 2 sessions throughout the day.
- Side bends- You will have to stand up to do side bends. It is a simple exercise that helps in stretching the sides of the stomach and supports the back. You have to stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend to your right side and remain in that stretch for about 5-6 seconds. Come to the original position and bend to your left side. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
Other exercises that can help you maintain a good form are knee to chest stretches, side planks, leg raises and more.
Do not give soft support to wrists
A wrong idea that wrist support is helpful is doing rounds on the internet. You should not provide soft support to your wrists while working on your computer screen.
Tender assistance to the wrists can add compression to the finger tendons. This compression can escalate into pain and affect your shoulders, neck and back.
Do not dangle your feet in the air
Among the topmost tips to prevent back pain during work from home is to keep your feet on the floor. You should avoid dangling your feet in the air.
It is also suggested that your feet are not above the screen’s height. The possibility of back pain increases with such postures. You should keep your feet straight on the floor or a footstool.
Do not stand for too long
Some people believe that standing while working will keep them safe from musculoskeletal conditions. However, standing for prolonged hours can cause back problems just like sitting the whole day. The key is to moderate move and maintain the right body position.
The concluding note
You can gradually learn how to maintain a healthy back by following this work from home guide. For more suggestions or tips to prevent back pain during work from home, book an appointment with Dr Reetadyuti Mukhopadhyay, shoulder and sports injury specialist at the CK Birla Hospital.
Also, read: Tips to keep your back healthy and straight