At Home Work Is Associated with Increased Neck and Back Pain:
Robert D. Eisen, D.C. ESATM Department Head, Faculty Member
During the CoVid-19 pandemic, a majority of companies who had the ability, had their employees work from home. As we start to move toward a return to work, these companies may still have their employees work remotely. While working from home has shown to have an increase in productivity, eliminate commuting and can save the company money, there are some pitfalls to this luxury. An increase in headaches, neck pain and back pain. The objective of this article is to give you some advice on how to set up a workstation which will benefit your continued work from home and help you avoid the pitfalls of poor ergonomics.
Designing Your Work Station:
Designing a home work environment can be a fun and enjoyable experience. You have the ability to do whatever you want and make it as appealing or as unitarian as you wish. Just make sure it is conducive to good working ergonomics. What I mean is that you should design your workstation to alleviate any undue stress on your body. While this would be best it is not often the case.
What Poor Ergonomics Do To Our Bodies:
What has been happening is that we are working from our laptops on the kitchen table, snack trays in our living rooms and worst of all from our beds. This puts a great deal of stress on your spine and will inevitably cause you pain and discomfort. Making you less productive and regretting working from home.
How to Equip an Efficient Office Space?
So what can you do? The first step would be to design a workstation specifically for you to sit comfortably and have a set location to perform your job related activities. Get yourself a desk specifically for work. You don’t need to spend a great deal of money to have a specific desk for computer work, you just need a designated space. Look at Staples or Office Depot for a desk or look online. There are many different options out there for a desk of any size depending on your available space. Next you need a good ergonomic chair which is comfortable and will support your lower back. I would suggest going to a store to sit in one or two before you buy so that you can see how it feels. As more stores are opening, it should be a lot easier compared to when we were in lockdown.
Reduce the Strain on Your Neck and Upper Back?
Once you have the desk set up, I recommend investing in a computer monitor. Most laptops have the ability to add a monitor. This addition will allow you to use the laptop keyboard but positions your head with an improved view alleviating the tension on the muscles of your neck and upper back. If you continue to look down at the screen of the laptop you will strain these same muscles because your head is too far forward.
Best Results Come From Individualived Adjustments?
Setting up the desk and chair are an important part of this process. Your desk will most likely come at a standard height, but your chair should have the ability to be adjusted. When sitting in the chair make sure that your legs are at 90 degrees to the floor or slightly greater. This alleviates lower back pain from a chair set too low. Sit up straight and avoid slouching in your chair. This posture not only puts greater stress on your lower back but on your neck as well. Your arms should hang at about a 90 degree angle or slightly greater to alleviate stress and tension across the shoulder. Position your arms for easy access to your keyboard without having to raise your shoulders or hands to type.
Help Your Body to Relax While Working on the Computer:
Now that you have a comfortable workstation you should consider how long you spend in front of your screen. After every hour of computer work divert your eyes from the screen and look around. Move your head as you do. Give the muscles a stretch to help take tension away from your neck and shoulders. Some brief, mild stretching in the chair can help offset the long hours spent in front of your computer. These small actions go a long way in relieving the stiffness and soreness that develops in your neck and back.
By investing a few dollars and a little bit of time, you can create an ideal workstation at home that helps alleviate your neck and back pain, increases productivity, and keeps your energy levels high.