Working from home is a standard of life for many professionals in the United States, but the rise of the coronavirus pandemic in recent months has caused that number to skyrocket — along with an unexpected spike in cases of back pain. With nearly all businesses and public organizations indefinitely prohibited from normal operations, more people are working remotely than ever before, and this drastic shift towards a sedentary quarantine lifestyle has not come without some unwanted consequences, as demonstrated by exponential growth in reports of chronic pain.
Work-from-home guidelines are undoubtedly an essential measure if our society ever hopes to flatten the curve and eradicate the fatal effects of COVID-19, but if individuals adhering to these parameters are experiencing severe physical discomfort and ergonomic issues as a result, something needs to be done.
In this article from Gray Chiropractic, we shed light on the best ways to manage back pain while working from home. Our Winston-Salem clinic has holistic chiropractic and sports medicine treatment have endowed us with the knowledge and professional skill to understand the relationship between certain lifestyle habits and related chronic pain problems. Read on to learn how you can continue to safely work from home while still supporting your overall health.
Maintain Good Posture
When working at a traditional sitting desk, the way in which you position your body can have an enormous impact on your spinal wellness — for better or for worse. To avoid the painful cramps of an unsupported back or a strained neck, you’ll need to get in the habit of practicing proper posture.
If you sit at a desk while you work, make sure that your chair is aligned in such a way that it supports the natural curvature of your spine. If possible, adjust the seat of the chair so that your feet rest firmly on the floor; if your office chair is not adjustable, use pillows or a footrest to find the most comfortable position, maintaining a slight bend in your knees and a gentle engagement of your core and back.
Minimize Eye Strain
Other practical tips for reduced back pain include maintaining appropriate distance between your natural gaze, or line of sight, and your computer (or any other screen-based device that requires moderate use of your hands). This distance should roughly equal the length of your arms so that your neck and shoulders remain upright and the screen or monitor in front of you is optimized for visibility.
If you’re accustomed to slouching forward while you work, or the abrasive blue light of screens tends to make you drowsy, a conscious effort to distance yourself from the source can contribute positively to both visual health and spinal support.
Design Your Workspace For A Better Back
Many work-from-home setups consist of little more than a chair, a computer, and a desk, an ergonomic setup whose sedentary nature is sure to cause tension in the back, and eventually may contribute to health issues in other vital areas of the body. To prevent chronic back pain and its consequent comorbidities, consider using a standing desk in lieu of the traditional office-space style. Not everyone has access to this kind of work environment, but even if your company doesn’t provide one or you can’t afford to purchase one, there is no need to worry.
Standing desks are extremely easy to construct in a work-from-home environment. All you’ll need to create the effect are a desk, a sturdy box or two, and a side table or additional platform to act as a surface for your mouse or work supplies. Position your desk as you like it, stack one to two boxes in relation to your body until it reaches approximately the same height as the upper crest of your hips. Remember that although a sedentary work routine is not ideal, it is okay to take occasional breaks from standing and relax in a seated position, whether you’re completing a 30-minute task or enjoying a meal on your lunch break.
Back pain is a common issue that is only increasing further amidst the work-from-home limitations of coronavirus. Although this situation will not last forever, for the time being it is critical to practice healthy habits that support your spinal wellness and overall health, as failure to do so will only cause more problems and greater severity of disease in the future.
To learn more about how a chiropractic or sports medicine regimen can protect you from the suffering of chronic back pain, or simply to learn more useful tips on holistic wellness and lifelong physical health, please visit us online at Gray Chiropractic today!