Work From Home: Posture Problems & How To Fix It
Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Experiencing back pain from your work-from-home set-up? You're not alone.
In 2020, a large number of the workforce transitioned into WFH routines after the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Many moved from their offices in corporate buildings to a makeshift work station in their homes. And this seems to be an upward trend since businesses have seen an increase in productivity after workers moved home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has restricted movement across countries, cities, and homes. People are moving way less than ever since they're no longer commuting, walking to the office, or participating in group sports activities. And those who WFH have even fewer opportunities to move. This new sedentary lifestyle can significantly impact one's posture and flexibility and even cause pain.
And most homes don't have the space to fit ergonomic chairs and desks, and it can also be costly to purchase if not covered by your employer. If you're working from home, it's essential to learn how this new routine can improve your posture health.
Up to 85% of working people can expect to experience low back pain during their lifetime. Many people attribute their back pain to sitting all day in the office. Back pain can feel like a dull, throbbing sensation or a sharp and shooting pain. Chronic back pain is debilitating; it makes even the smallest tasks like lifting a box, walking or sitting, excruciatingly painful.
Those working from home might experience even worse back pain from the changes in their work environment and work equipment. Most home workstations aren't set-up for long-term use and instead result in bad posture and exacerbate pain.
Neck pain is caused by injury, trauma, motor vehicle accidents, or by poor posture. For example, working on a computer screen set at an improper height can significantly strain the neck. Neck pain symptoms include decreased range of motion, headaches and migraines, muscle tightness and spasms.
Treatments such as chiropractic therapy can offer immediate neck pain relief, reduce migraines, and provide exercises that help with long term recovery. If you're experiencing back pain, a chiropractor will use spinal manipulation to alleviate pain, improve mobility, restore range of motion, and reduce nerve irritation.
Unfortunately, chronic back pain and neck pain hits you before you know it. Before you get to the stage where you require help from a chiropractor, here are some ways to prevent chronic back and neck pain when you're working from home.
Walking and Stretching
It's essential to incorporate short walks into your daily routine. Taking quick walk breaks and stretching throughout the day can help prevent stiffness in the neck and lower back and increase mobility.
Chair with a Cushion or Towel
Unfortunately, many workers can't take their favorite work chair home with them, and purchasing ergonomic chairs can be quite costly. When working from home, it's enticing to work on a sofa that seems soft and comfortable. However, couches are too plush and offer no support and instead puts pressure on the upper back and shoulder blades.
A workaround solution can be finding a sturdy chair and placing a small pillow or rolled-up towel behind it to replicate lumbar support. This cushion supports the spine and encourages you to sit upright.
Getting a Laptop Stand
If you're sitting at the dining table or working on a desk much lower than the one you have at your office, you can find a laptop stand to bring your laptop to eye-level, which prevents you from having to crane your neck down to look at the screen. If an affordable laptop stand is hard to find, you can use anything that will hold your laptop or computer screen at the right height, such as a stack of books or a box.
Getting a Standing Desk
A much better alternative is getting an adjustable sit-stand desk that allows you to switch positions throughout the day. Alternatively, moving from your office desk to a kitchen countertop may offer the same relief as a sit/stand desk. Being able to stand for some portion of the day is good for your legs and lower back, allowing for stretching and preventing stiffness.
Working on Your Coffee Table
It's recommended to sit at a desk where your knees, hips and elbows are at a 90-degree angle, and sitting on the floor and working on your coffee table may be the best option to achieve this. Doing this for some period of your workday may help relieve the strain of a non-ergonomic work station.
Daily exercise has many benefits, including injury prevention in your neck and back. By doing exercises that strengthen your lower back muscles and neck muscles, you can better support your body, maintain proper posture, and avoid any strain.
If you're already experiencing chronic back pain and neck pain, it might be time to seek a chiropractor for relief. Head to Inspine Therapy for a chiropractor in Port Moody and Coquitlam you can trust. At Inspine, the practitioners focus on personalized care and long-term relief rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.