12 Jun Working from Home? A Literal Pain in the Neck
The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of things about our day to day lives. Before the pandemic, many Americans already worked from home, roughly 1 in 6 or 26 million people. However, that number grew significantly as states ordered all non-essential workers to stay home.
Working from home definitely has its benefits however, it can cause back and neck pain depending on what your WFH office is like. People are experiencing new or increased back and neck pain as a result of sitting at their home “office.”
If you don’t have a designated home office and have been forced to get creative with your space, you probably haven’t invested in the proper ergonomic office furniture either. Converting a kitchen island, a small space in a bedroom, or working from a coffee table is what these times have been made of.
Now, though, as many companies are allowing people to continue working from home despite lifted restrictions, it’s time to get serious about our makeshift office situations—for back’s sake.
Here are some ways you can improve your posture, space, and comfort while WFH:
1. Keep your neck straight
Try to adjust your monitor or laptop screen so that you don’t have to bend your neck or look down while you work, as that can cause serious strain and discomfort. Elevate your laptop if you have to by placing it on a stack of books or a box to keep your gaze upright.
2. Elevate your feet
If your feet don’t lie flat on the floor, a stack of books or a box is handy here as well. Letting your feet dangle or tucking them underneath your chair restricts blood flow to your lower legs and feet. Your hips and thighs should form a 90-degree angle when you sit.
3. Put a pillow on your seat and one behind your back
Putting a pillow, towel, or blanket under your seat will make a regular chair much more comfortable and more suitable for sitting awhile. Roll up a towel and stick it behind your back for extra lumbar support, too.
4. Move around
Consider moving your “office” space around throughout the day. Don’t sit or stand in one spot for too long—move between a chair and desk, standing at a kitchen counter, and so on.
5. Take breaks, take a walk, exercise
Movement throughout the day is good for your body, especially if you’re working from a less than ideal space at home. Get up and stretch, shake it out, take a walk if you can. There are lots of yoga poses that can be helpful as a mid-day body break.
6. Invest in a good chair
Depending on how long you plan to work from home, buying the right chair might be a good idea. There are several on the market in different price ranges that offer a variety of ergonomic solutions. Do a little research to see what makes the most sense for your space and budget and read the reviews to make sure it’s worth it. Your back and neck will thank you if you choose the right one.
Take care of your neck and back while working from home. The last thing any of us needs right now is new pain or worsening of existing conditions. If you are in debilitating pain, an appointment with Totality Chiropractic can be extremely helpful.