Posted on Dec 23, 2022, 12 p.m.
According to research, the number of people in America who are working from home has risen from approximately 9 million to 26 million in the last few years. The main reason we must be thankful for this is the global pandemic that's made regular office work impossible. And while the lockdowns are lifted, and people can finally go back to commuting daily, many people have decided to stick with working from home. And it makes total sense. You have comforts in your home that you could never have in your office; for many people, that is a more stimulating environment. But that still doesn't mean there aren't some cons to working at home. You will be sitting a lot, which will take a toll on your spine. That's why we will advise you on how to protect your neck and back when working from home.
Take regular breaks
One of the leading causes of pain in your neck and back when working is sitting for long periods without taking a break. That is often the case with workaholics, who have trouble stepping away from work, even for a few minutes. But this is an entirely wrong approach. You must take regular breaks to protect your neck and back when working from home. And they don't have to be long breaks at all. It is recommended that you should take a break that is no longer than ten minutes after every hour you spend at the desk with your laptop. During these ten minutes, you should take a quick walk or just do some light stretching to alleviate the tension in your neck and back and make your spine more flexible.
Protect your neck and back when working from home by getting a good chair
One of the advantages of working in an office is that you have an excellent ergonomic office chair. And this is something you should incorporate when working from home. You can't sit on the couch and work or a simple dining room chair. These chairs are not appropriate for someone who spends hours sitting and working on his laptop. A good ergonomic chair can be pricey but is incredibly worth it regarding your long-term spine health. Quality ergonomic chairs have seat depth and height adjustability and give you a lot of lumbar support. These chairs are designed specifically for your comfort. They are especially beneficial for people with chronic hip pain and make working more comfortable. Ergonomic chairs also stop you from developing bad posture, which is often the case with people who sit a lot while working.
Prepare yourself in the morning
Morning preparation plays a big part when you want to protect your neck and back when working from home. You can do some simple exercises and stretches to reduce the risk of neck stiffness and pain in your back. Here are some recommended stretches you can do as a part of your morning routine before work:
- Upper Trapezius Stretch
- Levator Scapular Stretch
- Neck Rotation
These exercises are simple and very effective. But they are not just good for your physical health. They are also suitable for you mentally. For example, experts recommend that recovering addicts do quick morning workouts to get ready for the day, as it will alleviate the anxiety and stress they feel. Regular physical activity is one of the best stress relievers before you start your day sober. And if you are stressed, more tension will accumulate in your neck and shoulders. Our mental and physical health are tightly connected, and we can use that to our advantage.
Make your home office comfortable
You can make some changes in your home office that will make it more comfortable for your neck and back. As we previously said, an ergonomic chair is a must, but there is much more to do. Number one, you need to adjust your monitor as this will help with reducing back and neck pain and even eye strain. The ideal position for a monitor is that the top of the screen is a little below your eye level and at least an arm's length away from your eyes. Then make sure you have all the office supplies close to you, so you can avoid spraining to reach them. That is very helpful in reducing lower back pain. One more thing you should do is get a little footstool so you can elevate your legs when sitting. It gives your spine more support and allows your blood to circulate better.
Consult an expert
Regarding the health of your spine, consultations with your chiropractor are the best prevention for neck and back pain. If you work from home full-time, you must have regular appointments with your chiropractor, even if you don't feel any pain or discomfort while working. In some cases, when it comes to the health of your spine, chiropractors are not the only experts who can help you. Sometimes, the pain comes from your psyche. According to experts at Archstone Behavioral Health, this was the case with many of their patients. When they came in, they felt specific physical pains that wouldn't go away after seeing the doctors, but after talking with therapists and working through their trauma, the pain went away. As we said previously, mental and physical health are very connected. Chiropractors can advise you on improving your health and what changes you need to make to your lifestyle.
There are many ways to protect your back and neck while working from home. But the best one is to listen to what your body is telling you. In most cases, your body will send you signals that something isn't right and that you need to make some changes. So exercise in the morning, take short breaks, get an ergonomic chair, and don't miss your chiropractor's appointment!
This article was written for WHN by Jessica Godliman who has honed her craft by writing about nutrition and diet culture for the local newspaper in her hometown Seattle. Now, she is a freelancer and focuses on her passion topics- health, exercise, and wellness tips!
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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