COVID-19 has become a part of life. Everyone is learning to live and adjust, and not a single person has been spared from its after-effects. For a large part of the working population, the after-effects have come in the face of ‘remote working’. While working from home has its own bunch of benefits, it also has a couple of drawbacks. Neck and back pain top the list of shortcomings of home-based working.
Long sitting hours might pose major risks to your health. From neck pain to back pain, poor posture, and weight gain, there are quite a lot of risks associated with sitting for long periods of time. Here is a compiled list of tips to prevent back pain during work from home.
1. Find your ideal chair
You might be surprised to know that your sofa or couch is not the best place to work. If you want to hold a good posture that supports your back, then you require a chair that will help you sit comfortably upright and straight. You also need to avoid sitting on soft or fluffy furniture. You either have to lean forward towards your screen or lean on your chair.
2. Set a separate workstation
Remote working can give you the liberty to work while standing, sitting, or even sprawling on the bed. However, this home rule can prove to be very costly for your back. Just because you have the liberty to work from your bed, does not mean that you should. It is recommended that you set out a separate workstation for office hours. It could be your study room, living room, or even the balcony. The idea is to get out of bed and work along with maintaining a perfect posture.
While you are setting up, make space for a water bottle, so you can stay hydrated. An insulated food jar filled with nuts, dry fruits and other healthy snacks can be a part of your table, so you are reminded to snack healthy.
3. Stretch your back in the morning
One of the best ways of reducing back pain while working from home is stretching. You could start your day with basic stretching exercises with an additional focus on the back. When you stretch your back in the morning, it can help you begin your day in a good body form.
4. Support your lower back
When sitting straight, your lower spine feels the most pressure and stress. It is, therefore, important to provide additional support to the lower back. You can merely roll a towel or use a log-shaped pillow for maintaining the posture and decreasing the pain. This work from home advice is not restricted to WFH; you can also practice it when sitting in your office chair after the lockdown reopens.
5. Make sure to move every hour
One of the cons of work from home is being restricted to bodily movements. You only require a system and internet to finish your day-long tasks. The fact remains that moving your body is just as crucial as maintaining a good posture. If you constantly sit for long hours, your body is bound to feel stiff. It is recommended that you make short movements all through the day. You can, in fact, set the alarm for every hour to remind yourself to take a walk within the house.
6. Exercises for correct posture
A couple of exercises can be done to avoid back pain while working from home. The exercises do not need any spacious workout areas and are perfect for indoors.
Shoulder blade squeezes- This exercise is very simple. You just have to sit straight and squeeze your shoulder blades inwards in the back. You have to hold this posture for 5-6 seconds before relaxing. This exercise should be repeated 10-15 times and done twice a day for a healthy back.
Chin tucks- Chin tucks can be done while sitting or standing. You have to bring your chin nearer to your face without looking down. The idea is to create a “double-chined” face. This workout is similar to shoulder blades and can be repeated 10-15 times in 2 sessions all through the day.
Side bends- You need to stand up to do side bends. It is a very simple exercise that will help in stretching the sides of your stomach and supports the back. You need to stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend to your right side and stay in that stretch for about 5-6 seconds. Return to the original position and repeat for the left side. Continue doing it 10-15 times on each side.
Other exercises that can help you in maintaining a good form are knee to leg raises, chest stretches, side planks, and more.
7. Place your computer screen at a comfortable height
You should work to keep your computer screen on a table that comes with a straight view. If the height of your screen is very high or low, you can most likely suffer from neck strain. This strain can then grow into the shoulder and the back. Your neck needs to be positioned at a straight level to maintain a healthy back.
8. Do not give soft support to wrists
A misplaced idea on wrist support being helpful is doing rounds on the internet. You shouldn’t provide soft support to your wrists when working on your computer screen. Tender assistance to your wrists can add compression on the finger tendons. This compression can further escalate into pain and affect your shoulders, back, and neck.
9. Do not dangle your feet in the air
Among the top tips to prevent back pain while working from home is keeping your feet on the floor. You need to stop dangling your feet in the air. It is also advised to keep your feet below the screen’s height. The likelihood of back pain increases with such kinds of postures. You need to keep your feet straight on the floor or a footstool.
10. Do not stand for too long
Some people think that standing while working can keep them safe from musculoskeletal conditions. But, standing for long hours can result in back problems, just like staying seated the whole day. The key is to move frequently and maintain the right body posture.
As it looks like work from home norm is here to stay a little longer, it is important to address issues that you are or will be facing as a result. What might start as a dull ache can evolve into something serious and harmful. It is better now than ever to start implementing these tips in your life. You can also set your workstation near a window where you can keep looking outside every now and then to change focal length. And, don’t forget to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy few moments of calm every day.