While it is comfortable to work from the comfort of home, it doesn’t bring good news for your health. Slouching over laptops and mobiles puts unimaginable strain on your back, neck and shoulders. Your posture might get affected, causing chronic pain in the lower back. All in all, it becomes difficult to do simple activities let alone your work. Thus, expert physiotherapists have shared some proven ergonomic tips that can help you avoid back pain even while working from home.
How to Avoid Back Pain While Working From Home?
An ideal ergonomic workstation is one that supports your spine, keep you comfortable and puts no strain on the musculoskeletal system. So, let’s check out the top five ways to set up an effective ergonomic workspace at home.
1. Get a comfortable chair first
Most people working from home get back pain because they use the wrong chair. The right chair should cushion your lower and mid-back. It should support and not distort the natural S-curve of your back. You shouldn’t feel like you are sitting on a log, right?
Things to remember while sitting on a chair for long hours:
- You should be able to sit on the chair without gaps between your spine and the chair.
- Adjust the height so your feet are flat on the floor.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Keep your wrists straight with your hands below or at elbow level.
- The distance between the monitor and you should be arm’s length.
2. Adjust the height of the desk
The wrong height of the desk causes you to slouch over which in turn leads to shoulder pain. Thus, make sure the height of your desk is such that you don’t have to look up or down at the laptop. You can access it by looking straight.
Things to remember while sitting in front of a desk:
- Use blocks under the legs of the desk to lift it up in case the height is too low.
- Raise your chair if the desk is too high.
- There should be enough space for your legs to be comfortable under the desk.
- Use a footrest to support your feet.
3. Set up your monitor
The monitor is where you stare for most of the time you spend working. Make sure the top of the monitor is at your eye level. You shouldn’t have to bend your neck to look at the monitor.
We often recommend our patients (suffering from back pain) to use piles of books under the monitor in case it is not at their eye level. You can also try the same if the height of your monitor is not adjustable. Keep the monitor at least an arm’s length away. These factors help you keep your neck and head in optimal alignment. You can also relax your shoulders while working.
4. Keep necessary objects in an accessible reach
The motto of a typical ergonomic workplace is to reduce or prevent strain on the neck, shoulders, arms & wrists. So, physical therapists recommend to keep necessary objects such as the keyboard and mouse within an accessible range. You don’t want to topple over books, chair and chargers to reach the mouse. Do you?
Optimise the alignment of your shoulders and arm while typing on the keyboard. You shouldn’t have to lean forward to work on the keyboard. Also, if you are using a laptop, get a portable keyboard which you can adjust according to your needs.
5. Take multiple breaks
Rest is the key to an optimum health. No matter how perfect your home workstation is, you are still working your heart out. And that puts a lot of strain on your overall body. Thus, take multiple breaks for ten minutes to let your muscles relax.
The best way to use those breaks is by exercising. You can consult with your physiotherapist about the home exercises that help prevent back pain.
Work is worship. Health is wealth. So, you cannot skip either of them. The above-mentioned tips, however, can help you balance both. Talk to your physiotherapists about the exact setup and lifestyle changes you need to recover from the pain.
March 25, 2023
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