Tips for reducing back pain when working from home:
Work station ergonomics
You may have had an ergonomic assessment on your desk at work, but maybe haven't had such focus on you work station at home. Check out the picture below for areas to adjust. When sitting you back should be fully supported by your chair (that includes your upper pelvis) and your feet fully supported on the floor. Knees should be at hip level or just below. Arm rests are important for taking stress off your neck and upper shoulders so you don’t end up shrugging for 6+ hours while typing. The top of the monitor should be level with your eyes and about an arm’s length away from your face to limit eye strain and allow neutral neck position.
Change positions often
Your body is made to move. Change positions from sitting to standing, if possible, and take movement breaks - walking, stretching, arm circles, head turns - anything to get yourself out of “computer posture” for a few minutes. Aim for a movement break every 30 minutes even if it’s just to do some shoulder blade squeezes and getting your eyes off the computer screen for 20 seconds.
Make exercise a priority
Pick anything you like to do; yoga, walking, running, basketball, etc. Movement is important for many physical health benefits including lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and blood sugar regulation. Regular exercise is associated with decreased risk for illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and many cancers. Exercise has also been shown to decrease anxiety and depression and release endorphins, the “feel-good hormone."
Jennifer Dunn, DPT
Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center
Ergonomics is about fitting the task to the person, and fitting the person to the task. When ergonomic principles are applied in a work environment, many workplace injuries are avoided and work performance can be improved.
To have "good ergonomics", ergonomic risk factors with the task and the individual must be identified and eliminated or reduced.
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