How to avoid painful injuries as a result from working from home.
A lot of us are working from home due to office closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this has a lot of advantages such as wearing our pajama pants on a Zoom call or having extra time with our pets but there is the potential of getting a home injury from a workstation that is not ergonomically sound. Your new home office may be causing that new pain in your neck or your sore back. It might be time to reassess your home set up with questions such as: is it time to invest in a proper desk, is my chair suited for my needs? Is it time to think about a desk rather than sharing a dining table with my partner and kids? It’s really important to assess this new work and home life but it’s just as important to monitor changes in your body such as are you feeling a new neck pain or have a pestering lower back issue since you’ve been working from home? Have you noticed from your poor posture, a wrangling tension headache? Well you’re not alone if you answered yes to any of these questions and we have some suggestions to help ease these discomforts.
We have a few things to consider when assessing your home workspace:
Make an ergonomically suitable desk station!
If you are working at a desk from home and sitting there the whole day, it’s important to consider adequate back support—make sure to put firm not fluffy pillows or cushions behind you while sitting in your chair. This helps to keep your back to stay upright and ensures you don’t slouch.
To help prevent neck and shoulder pain, make sure you’re not sitting too low in your desk and have the right height in your chair! Maybe put an extra seat cushion on your chair at your desk to boost you higher up so my elbows are higher than your hands and keyboard to help prevent neck, shoulder pain, back pain and tension headaches.
Have you considered a standing desk?
Ideally a standing desk would be beneficial for your ergonomics, we don’t usually sit at a desk with no break from a seated position for the entire day! We usually have to get up to go to the lunchroom or fill up our water bottle so having an alternative workstation to switch to for part of the day is highly beneficial for our bodies. This change in the day gets you up moving which helps to prevent aches and pains from staying in one position all day. You burn calories from standing but you also engage your core and increase blood flow throughout your body. It’s important to note to not just stand at your station or only sit at your desk all day as too much of a good thing causes pesky body aches. Remember when you’re standing to shift your position and don't stand still—this can also causes issues from your poor position.
What about the rest of your workstation?
- To prevent wrist injuries, use a wireless mouse
- Use a yoga mat to stand on rather than a hard surface to relieve pressure on your lower back
- Make sure your chair is not too high with your feet dangling this helps to prevent stress on your lumbar spine
- Don’t use your dining room chair, invest in a office chair as they’re designed to ensure reduction of unnecessary pain in your body
Your couch is not your friend!
One of the first places for comfort is our couch, so it could be a great potential spot for our home desk right? Truthfully it is not, as tempting as that could be. Although it may be very comfortable, working from your coach with your legs or full body in a vertical position can lead to muscle numbness and discomfort. Couches also tend to be deep and soft so it’s easy to sink in but this doesn’t have good support for your spine. If you have to sit on the couch because of no other options, make sure to use a firm pillow or cushion to keep the screen higher up, keep your firm cushion behind to support your back or put your legs up while working as this can cause leg strain.
We could go on with suggestions for home workstations... but...
The lists are endless for better work stations but we know you have lots of work to get to than read a novel of how to. So, if you need suggestions for your specific needs because of your new nagging pain consider booking your session with one of our physiotherapists—virtually or in person as we’re here to help!
Book a consultation today: https://vancityphysio.janeapp.com/
Follow us on Instagram for more information: VanCity Physio (@vancityphysiotherapy).