Working from home comes with many benefits, including but not limited to the lack of commute, a less rigid schedule and increased productivity. Unfortunately, there are a few notable drawbacks, one of which is the lack of an ergonomic workstation.
Spine care centers across the nation have seen an uptick in appointments from telecommuters since March 2020, which experts attribute to poor posture as a result of working from couches, beds, countertops and wherever in the home is most convenient. There is even a term coined for such conditions: a “tech neck”. Learn more about this phenomenon in this detailed article.
Check out these five recommended ways to optimize spinal health while working from home.
1. Practice a Proper Sitting Position
It may seem silly to practice sitting, but the truth is that many people do it wrong. You should assume a natural body position when working from home, which means remaining seated in a chair with both feet planted firmly on the ground and directly in front of you. Also, place your device on a flat surface or tabletop in front of your chair and angle it in such a way that you do not have to bend your head or neck to view the screen.
As ergonomics experts at Dohrmann Consulting explain, you are aiming for a front-facing, L-shaped position with your body. Though such a rigid posture may seem uncomfortable at first, your body will grow accustomed to it with practice and, over time, your spine will thank you. If resources allow, invest in ergonomic equipment that makes it easy for you to position your body just right.
2. Find the Perfect Position for Your Computer Screen
Tech neck refers to shoulder and neck pain, soreness and stiffness that results from straining the neck in an unnatural way. When you look down at your computer screen, the muscles in the back of your neck have to contract to hold the head up. The longer you maintain this position, the more tired and sore your neck muscles become. Sometimes, there are might be other factors responsible for the discomfort, such as vagus nerve pain in neck, but it is advisable to find the best position for your computer screen.
Fortunately, you can easily avoid tech neck by raising your computer or laptop so that it is at eye level and taking frequent breaks to give your neck and shoulders a rest.
3. Get Up and Get Moving
As Prevention explains, many health experts call sitting too much the new smoking for a reason: it’s detrimental to so many aspects of your health. In addition to several other adverse health outcomes, sitting for hours on end can harm your spinal health and mental well-being. In fact, sitting for prolonged periods is linked to increased levels of stress. And if you’re already experiencing a lot of work-related stress, which, as noted here many in leadership positions are, then you’re in even more danger of back, muscle, and joint pain.
If you want to improve all areas of your health, including your posture and spinal health, get up and move throughout the day, even if it’s just for five minutes at a time. Ensure comfortability as you move by donning clothing like leggings, an easy-to-wear bra, and loose-fitting shirt.
4. Get Regular Chiropractic Adjustments
Regular chiropractic adjustments have numerous health benefits, one of the most obvious of which is improved spinal health. While you should see a chiropractor regularly regardless of your current work situation, it’s especially important to invest in your back when the extent of your walking involves moving from your couch to the coffeemaker, or when your California King doubles as a home office.
A chiropractor can adjust your back so that it’s properly aligned and provide you with more tips for maintaining spinal health between visits.
5. Maintain a Clean, Clutter-Free Home
Clutter can get in the way of your mental health and put you at risk of sustaining physical injuries. Keep stress at bay and prevent mishaps by keeping your home office (and the floors) clean and clear of unnecessary mess.
In fact, you’ll find that decluttering is just one step towards reducing negativity in your home; it can also be beneficial to air it out, let in more natural light, and check sour attitudes. With less tension, which we often carry in our shoulders, back and neck, you’ll feel better all around.
Telecommuting comes with numerous benefits, but you can’t enjoy those benefits if you’re laid up with back pain. Improve your posture, enhance your spinal health and prevent major issues with the above tips.
Check out the infographic below on how to optimize your work-from-home setup:
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