How To Avoid Back and Neck Pain While Working From Home
If you have been into our office, you absolutely have heard me talk about it before; if you haven’t yet and this is the first you’re hearing about it, buckle up, sit up straight, and get ready to feel better throughout the day.
Work Ergonomics is the study of people in their working environments, specifically looking at posture and performance during typical work activities. The idea is to fit the work task to every individual worker, rather than the worker to the task. You may think only in an industrial setting or more manual labor jobs would focus on ergonomics, however EVERY job and all types of work can be modified and made easier on the body. Large factories spend millions on job adjustments to lower risk of injury and aid in more proper technique. Due to recent circumstances, many people have switched from their lush office space with their good work chair, stand-up desk, proper monitor mount, etc. and forced to work in a corner of a spare room with an old desk from the 90’s that has more junk on it than work area, or worse, while laying in their bed. Let’s go over the major recommendations for a work from home (WFH) setup to hopefully decrease those aches and pain from sitting in an uncomfortable position all day.
You should be using a chair with a back support that has the capability to adjust height (bonus points if the seat can tilt forward). For the lower body, use the 90-90-90 rule: hip angle should be a 90° angle, knees should be a 90° angle, and your ankles should be a 90° angle. This is where the bonus points come in **Tilt the seat of your chair just slightly (5-10°) forward, almost feeling like you’re falling out of your seat. This will help engage your core while sitting!!** Sitting comfortably with your butt in the far back of your chair, your feet should be resting flat on the floor (use a box to reproduce this if you’re too short/ feet can’t touch or your chair height doesn’t adjust). For your upper body, relax your shoulders down and bend your elbows at 90°, this is right where your keyboard and mouse should be. You shouldn’t have to reach or bend whatsoever to use either. Your monitor(s) should be directly in front of you with the top of the screen at eye level, only using your eyes to look down, not coming from your neck. If you have 2 or 3 monitors, try to use them evenly throughout the day or make your primary screen straight in front of you.
Use a Bluetooth headset or headphones on longer phone calls: Your neck and shoulders will thank you.
Get a sit-to-stand desk: Being able to stand and move around while working will not only benefit your low back, blood circulation will increase. A study suggests that users with 4 hours of standing while working lead to improved work productivity and higher energy throughout the day.
Try blue light glasses: With so much time being spent on computers and other devices, decreasing eye strain and improving sleep quality seem like good enough reasons to get a pair.
Get up and move: Every 50 minutes, get up and walk for 10 minutes. This alone has proven to decrease low back and neck pain desk-workers often have.
We want to make sure that you have a healthy workstation set up whether you are working in the office or at home. If you’re not working from home and have a job that is different than being stuck in front of a computer all day, PLEASE call our office at 248.265.3330 and set up a consult to go over changes/ modifications that we can make to help you out throughout your work day.