Once people transition into a home-based job, they face the challenge of creating a substitute workspace. Most home set-ups lack the ergonomic characteristics of an office setting. Since people are more likely to choose comfortable furniture rather than one that is suitable, this could lead to some health issues. These issues are usually related to poor posture. To help you avoid back pain while working from home, here are some tips you can follow:

Ensure you get your monitor height right.

Your screen should be at the level of your eyes. If you are using a laptop, raise it by stacking it on a pile of books or a laptop holder. You may also dock it onto a larger screen. Using the appropriate monitor height prevents you from slouching when reading the screen. It also reduces pressure on your lower and upper back.

Use a separate keyboard and mouse.

For laptop users, a separate keyboard and mouse help you keep your arms relaxed. Arms that are stretched forward and up for long periods build tension in the shoulders, wrists, and upper back. Keep the keyboard and mouse close to you so you don’t have to extend your arms when typing. Your wrists should also be kept straight and relaxed to reduce pressure buildup.

Add back support.

Since you’ll be sitting for hours, you should provide support to your lower back. If you’re using a dining chair, you can avoid back pain by mimicking the support provided by an office chair by placing a cushion or a rolled-up towel for extra back support. You can also opt to buy an inflatable lumbar support cushion.

If your only option is a sofa, build back support by using cushions since most sofas may cause slouching.

Keep your circulation in check.

Once in a while, take your laptop to a higher surface, like a kitchen countertop, and stand up for a few minutes. In this way, you can keep blood and oxygen moving throughout your body. Doing this avoids the buildup of tension.

Take regular breaks.

According to experts, getting up every 30 minutes is ideal. Prolonged periods of work can cause your body to feel tense. If you start feeling pins and needles on your limbs or sudden aches on your neck, shoulder, and back it’s time to take a break. A change in posture and position can also help ease these sudden aches and to avoid back pain in the long run.

Exercise.

Keep yourself healthy by exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. Exercise helps ease the tension by stretching out your muscles.

These exercises can help to ease and improve some common problems caused by poor posture. You can perform these simple exercises intermittently throughout the workday.

For neck pains and hunched shoulders: Face your head forward. Move your shoulders forward, up, back, and then down. Repeat five times forward, and five times back.

For stiffness and pain in the middle back: Roll your shoulders back, then reach your fingertips towards each other behind your back. Bring back your elbows and try to press the palms of your hands together. Hold and take five deep breaths. Release and repeat as needed.

For stiffness and pain in the lower back: Press your glutes firmly onto your chair and stretch the sides of your body. Stretch arms toward the ceiling while clasping both hands. Reach over towards the right to stretch the left side of your waist. Hold for five seconds, then switch to the left. Repeat five times for each side.

You can also perform the following exercises to strengthen your lower back. These exercises can help prevent and alleviate lower back pain. It also strengthens your core, leg, and arm muscles.

Partial Curl
  • Lie back on the floor and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your hands over your chest and take a deep breath.
  • As you exhale, engage your abdominal muscles by pulling your stomach in.
  • Carefully raise your head and shoulders around 2 inches off the ground. Keep your neck in line with your spine.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Bridges
  • Lie on the ground and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Press feet onto the floor, keep your arms by your sides.
  • Slowly lift your buttocks off the ground until your body forms a straight line from the shoulders to the knees.
  • Squeeze buttocks. Shoulders should remain on the flower.
  • Lower buttocks to the ground, then rest for a few seconds.
  • Repeat 15 times. Rest for a minute.
  • Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Superman
  • Lie on the ground, facedown with both arms outstretched. Legs should be stretched out and flat on the ground.
  • Raise arms and feet. Try to create a 6-inch gap between your raised limbs and the floor.
  • Pull in your stomach and lift it off the floor to engage your core muscles.
  • Keep your head straight, eyes on the floor to avoid neck injury.
  • Hold for 3 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. 

Since the virus doesn’t seem to be showing signs of letting up soon, remote work could become a staple in this new normal. While we wait for months, even years, for a cure, we should always prioritize our health. By practicing healthy habits, we can avoid back pain and make ourselves stronger, and hopefully, outlast this crisis.

Related: Activities to Help You Improve Your Life Through Physical Health

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