Work from Home Advice for People with Back Pain

Due to ongoing global changes—that’s putting it mildly—many companies are scrambling to keep their operations going and their workers gainfully employed. Those able to move their employees to a work-from-home setup have done so.

Work from homeDon't add back pain to the challenges of working from home.

The benefits of working from home are many: Lack of commute, more time with family, snacks on the couch. But working from home is new to many people and poses a new challenge of converting the lounge, dining room or kitchen table to become a substitute workspace.

Back pain is a common occurrence whether you’re working at the office or working from home. Ordinary activities such as the way you sit or the way you lift something can cause back pain if you’re not careful. Working for extended periods at your kitchen counter or sitting at your dining table with the wrong chair is not great for your body and overall health.

Don’t Let Working from Home Cause Back Pain

Ever tried to work while lounging in your bed or slouching on your sofa? You probably thought you’d be comfortable, but we’d bet you hit quitting time with sore back, neck or shoulders muscles.

Working on your laptop for hours daily can lead to back and neck pain. To make matters worse many people are working at the kitchen counter or hunched over a coffee table and not sitting at a table or desk with a chair. The best way to reduce or even avoid back or neck pain is to make a few changes to your workstation.

Setting Up Your Home Workspace

Work from home couchWhen you're working from home, you can work where you want, but you should follow some best practices to save your back.

A comfortable workspace will greatly increase your productivity and can physically help you feel your best. To work comfortably for many hours at a time while maintaining good posture, invest in a few practical office appliances that will serve to support your physical well-being. Proper office ergonomics will include the correct chair height, a footrest and a good desk posture that can help your muscles and joints stay comfortable.

Choosing the right ergonomic office chair is important, considering you will mostly be using the office chair for back support. Office chairs are not a one size fit all size. Your choice of office chairs could be the difference between having ongoing back pain or improve your comfort, health, and overall productivity.

Ergonomic and Well-being Tips To Support Your Back

Despite buying the adjustable ergonomic chair that supports the curve of your lower back, you might still have back pain while working. Before exchanging your chair, consider your behavior towards the following because it might not be your ergonomic office chair that’s not working.

Work from home comfortFollow these tips to ensure your WFH experience is comfortable.

  • Movement Is Medicine - You might watch your step count plummet when you work from home. Even if you’re driving or taking mass transit to the office, you still have to move from your house to your vehicle to your office. Exercise and stretching at regular intervals—especially at home—is a key part of protecting your spine throughout the day. Remembering to do this while working at home is normally harder than when working in an office environment with colleagues. Set an automatic reminder on your phone. Engaging regularly in low-impact aerobic activity provides your tissues with essential blood flow and may help minimize back pain.
  • Check Your Posture - Prolonged sitting and slouching forward may contribute to back pain. The proper way of sitting would be erect. The advantages of sitting up straight, keeping the joints and bones aligned, supporting the muscles and ligaments while preventing muscle fatigue. In addition, the spine is not fixed in abnormal positions. Remember to sit all the way back in your chair to take full advantage of the lumbar support that would count in your favor. The knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle with feet flat on the floor or assisted by a footrest.
     
  • Set Your Screen Height - The height of your computer should not be set too high or too low. Your eyes should be aimed at the center of the screen so you don’t have to crane your neck up or down. It should also be directly in front of you so you’re not tilting or turning your head. For most users, the laptop will need to be raised anywhere from 5 to 10 inches in order to provide the proper height.
     
  • Use Your Speaker - Stop trying to multitask, especially when it comes to the phone. Pinning the phone between your neck and shoulder and working on the laptop at the same time may lead to stress to your back and hurts its muscles. Instead, pop on your speaker or use a headset to avoid the awkward position of the neck cradle.
     
  • Breathe Mindfully - Breathing properly leads to relaxation of the body and the muscles in the mid and lower back. When a person breathes consciously, it gets the nervous system to react and the breathing exercises can be a way to target lower back pains. The advantage of these exercises is that no special equipment is needed and it can be done anywhere and anytime. All you need to do is to concentrate on your breathing. Inhale and try bringing your navel towards your spine and then exhale. This breathing exercise will engage your core muscles and it will support your upper body.
 
Updated on: 04/17/20
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The Best Office Chairs for Back Pain in 2020

In the market for a new office chair that’ll ease your aching back? Check out our choices for the best office chairs for back pain.
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