Whether you are a work-from-home veteran or newbie, there are always options for improving your home office setup, especially if spending 8 hours on your couch is causing you to experience back aches or twinges. Here are a few tips to help you protect your back, now and in the future.
The spine is a sturdy but delicate mechanism that is designed to absorb pressure through the bony protrusions along the back of each vertebrae, but this distribution works well only when we maintain the S-curve of our backs. Therefore, as comfortable as your favorite armchair might be, it probably is not helping your back. To promote good back posture while you are working, choose a chair that will support your spinal curves, allow you to keep your feet flat on the floor, and prevent you from hunching over your keyboard all day. Consider using a rolled-up towel behind your lower back to provide lumbar support while you sit at a kitchen-table chair.
Modern research shows that inactivity is one of the worst things you can do if you are experiencing back pain. It can make the pain worse and might lead to further complications, so consider setting aside some time every day for a light exercise routine. Try taking a walk around your neighborhood or trying out some online videos for yoga or tai chi. Exercises that specifically focus on strengthening the core while lengthening the spine will help you build support within your own body to keep your spine healthy long-term. Plus, 15 minutes of sunshine per day, especially while out in nature, have been shown to elevate and stabilize both mental well-being and physical health.
Ice and Heat
If you have ever been injured, you probably know that applying an ice pack in 20-minute increments can work wonders for inflammation and pain. That method can still be helpful for people who are stressing their backs while working from home, but the opposite of ice might work even better in a repetitive stress situation. Applying a heating pad or warm pack to help relax your muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area could provide you with even more short-term relief.
Office Ergonomics Overhaul
When you are ready to create a great home office workspace that is designed exactly for your comfort and capabilities, check out Humantech® Office Ergonomics online training and self-assessment software. For a limited time, we are providing free access to this service. You can also view our work-from-home toolbox, which includes resources to help employees avoid the risks that lead to musculoskeletal disorders.