The benefits of working from home are endless — from saying goodbye to your daily commute to the office, sending emails in your pajamas, and having a constant supply of snacks. Yet, the downside of working remotely is that you have most likely set up your workstation at the dining table, kitchen counter, lounge chair, or spread across your bed. Wherever you find yourself working on your device, you may notice an increase of aches and pains that come with no longer sitting at an ergonomic computer workstation. If you are experiencing a few sores and twinges, or if you want to prevent musculoskeletal injury, our tips can help you with pain relief so you can continue to work comfortably from home and potentially avoid the need for back surgery.
View Your Computer with a Straight Neck
Ensure that your screen sits in front of you at a comfortable height. Avoid the need to bend over and look down at your laptop or phone as this can put a strain on your neck and back. Also, try not to angle your screen off to the side where you would need to constantly twist your neck as you work. If you have a separate keyboard and computer monitor, then you can prop up your screen to eye level using a pile of books or a box.
Read Paper Documents in a Vertical Holder
If you need to read paper documents or are using an iPad for work, then consider using a vertical holder or put your tablet on a stand. This action will prevent your head from moving up and down between a flat document on the table and looking up at your computer screen.
Move Around Every Hour
We know that it can be easy to become absorbed in your work, but it is important that you take breaks to move your body or stretch every hour, which will help with back pain relief. You can lay flat on the floor with your legs up at a 90-degree angle to stretch your back muscles, run up and down some stairs, or stretch your arms overhead and to your sides. You should also try taking walks throughout the day, as this is a great low impact way to move your entire body.
Avoid Working on the Sofa
Rather than using your couch as your work area, save it for the times when you want to relax and take a break. Your posture will suffer if you sit on the couch for prolonged periods of time and you will be less likely to move around. Instead, find a comfortable chair where you will have good posture and a straight back. If you need extra support, you can try rolling up a towel and placing it horizontally in the small of your lower back.
Invest in an Office Chair
If working remotely is going to be a long-term prospect then consider investing in a proper office chair that works for your setup. The ideal chair is one with adjustable features such as seat height and arm, backrest, and lumbar support. Various chairs that could work include an affordable office mesh computer design that is easy to assemble and has built-in lumbar support, the Alera Elusion Series with a shallow seat depth that is ideal for multiple people, or the Herman Miller Aeron Task Chair with back support that mimics your posture when you stand and will recline so you can stretch out.
If you are experiencing significant back pain, please contact Dr. Vivek P. Kushwaha, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston for a consultation.