Since the work-from-home mandate began in the spring, there’s been a huge increase of people reporting neck and back pain (according to 92% of chiropractors in an April 2020 study).
What’s with the stiff necks? Even though working from home can be comfier, it’s important to make sure your hours of sitting are done well, or else they could exacerbate any problems associated with extended periods of being sedentary.
Here are some tips for keeping your back pain-free (and lowering your risk of certain cardiovascular ailments) while working from home.
Don’t Work On The Couch
Sorry to say, but working on the couch is one of the worst things for you back. When you’re working and sitting for extended periods of time, it’s best to be sitting on a firm chair, which helps to support your posture and relieve strain on your back muscles. Cushions, beds, and couches aren’t actually meant for you to sit on for long periods of time, and after repeatedly straining those muscles by working from your couch for months at a time, you could do some serious damage to your back and neck.
Remember To Get Your Steps In
As a general rule, it’s best to take a break at least every hour and do a lap. Whether it’s a stretch, a walk to the other side of the house, or a walk to the lobby of your apartment, you should be making sure that you’re taking those regular breaks to walk around. (As for your eyes, the rule of thumb is to take a break from looking at your screen every 20 minutes to look at something in the distance, and help the muscles that help you to see long-distance get a better workout).
Make Sure Your Seat and Table Are The Right Height
A lot of sitting areas in our home aren’t a great height for working, like our kitchen counters, which generally have us bending our backs to reconcile the height of the stool with the height of the table. Make sure that you’re working regularly in a desk or table setting that promotes good posture- where you can sit upright and it feels comfortable to do so.
Try A Standing Desk
Your counter may not be great for sitting, but it makes a mean standing desk. Try spending an hour or so working from the counter in the afternoon. Standing while working is a great way to break up those long periods of sitting, and have been linked to a ton of health benefits. Moving your workspace throughout the day can help you to become more productive, too.