Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic can present its own set of challenges. For many, work stations at home are not intended for full time work and may contribute to added stress on your body.
In addition to that, being stuck at home may be impacting your activity level. We are used to being able to leave the house to run errands, exercise, and meet up with friends and family. Instead, we are doing a lot more sitting than usual which can make back and neck pain even worse.
If you are working from home, here are my 3 best tips to help you get through this time while reducing your risk for back and neck pain.
#1 Set yourself up for success – Many of our workstations are not ergonomic. In fact, I would bet that most of you are set up on a laptop on your dining room table. This can cause us to lean forward and round our backs. This sort of posture over time can cause things like back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain and headaches. Yikes!
Take a look at this image. It demonstrates some modifications you can make to your home office so that you reduce the stress on your body. The number one adjustment that I make for my patients is to make sure that the computer screen is at the right height. By raising it up a bit, we are able to hold our heads up reducing the tendency to lean forward.
#2 Take breaks to move – Our bodies are not intended to sit for long periods at a time. By taking breaks to walk around we are giving our bodies time to stretch, get some circulations going and re-hydrating our joints. Set yourself up a timer to move at least once per hour.
#3 Breathe – When we are stressed and in poor posture, we tend to take very shallow breaths. This overworks our neck muscles and does not do a great job oxygenating the body. Instead try to take some slow deep breaths in and out. This will not only help reduce the strain on your neck but it is also great for relaxation and stress relief. Try a few per hour throughout your work day.
For more information on relieving back or neck pain, check out our free pain guides.