Lack of commuting, more time with family, and stretching out on the couch are some of the perks of working from home. However, creating a comfortable, ergonomic workspace at home can be a challenge — which is why so many people are getting aches and pains. We’re all working while hunched over or slouching in front of a laptop.
But with a few adjustments, you can create a workspace that ensures comfort and doesn’t become a literal pain in the neck, back, and shoulders.
Here are some tips on how to work from home with less pain:
· Practice proper posture. Good posture can have various benefits on a person’s physical and psychological health. On the other hand, poor posture can cause imbalanced muscle development and increased stress on the spine. Maintaining poor posture for a long time will eventually cause a cascade of multiple orthopedic problems.
Prolonged sitting and slouching will lead to back pain. So, sit upright with relaxed shoulders and avoid hunching forward to look at your screen. Make sure that your thighs and forearms are parallel to the floor. It can also help to keep your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Your feet should rest flat on the floor, but if your feet don’t reach, use a box, pile of books, or footrest so that they’re not dangling.
· Position your laptop at eye level. If your laptop isn’t at eye level, you’ll likely end up hunching over. Improper posture can cause upper back strain and headaches. You can use a box or a stand to raise your computer screen or laptop to reduce stress on your shoulders and back. Make sure that you can look at the center of the screen without craning your neck up or down.
· Position your keyboard and mouse comfortably. Both should be at a comfortable height. Make sure you can use them with your forearms and hands level and straight. Be mindful to keep your arm close to the side of your body when using a mouse. Proper posture prevents the compression of the nerves in your hand and decreases the strain on your neck and shoulder.
If you’re using a laptop, your screen might be so high that you can’t reach the keys. In this case, opt for a wireless keyboard instead to avoid wrist or neck pain. When it comes to your computer mouse, invest in an ergonomic one, such as a vertical mouse or a trackball. A traditional mouse forces your wrist to twist, which may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist pain. An ergonomic mouse allows your wrist to maintain a neutral position. It’s also helpful to move your mouse pad around to reduce repetitive motion.
· Ensure adequate lighting. Lighting and computer setup are crucial in minimizing eye strain. Sit about 25 inches away from the computer screen to reduce eye strain. Try adjusting your screen’s brightness to match the level of light in your room as well. Avoid working with your back to a window to prevent glare on your screen; instead, place your screen perpendicular to the window.
There’s also the 20-20-20 general rule to lessen eye strain. It simply means taking breaks from looking at your screen every 20 minutes by focusing on an object 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. It might also help to make a conscious effort to blink to keep your eyes moist.
· Get proper lumbar support. While the bed or couch might seem like the most comfortable places to settle in, it doesn’t offer ideal support for extended periods of work. Setting up a workspace with a table or desk and an office chair is best, as you can change the height of an office chair. Many office chairs offer lumbar support, but you could also roll up a small towel and place it along the small of your lower back to prevent back problems.
· Move around. Motion and light exercise are excellent methods to maintain your spine health. Though it’s comfortable to sit a lot at home, simple movement — such as exercise, a walk around the yard, or even just a few minutes standing up — makes a huge difference. Stretching also increases muscle blood flow. It’s ideal to take a break from sitting at least every 30 minutes.
Pain Management Doctor Near Me In Greater Southeast Michigan
Even if your work-at-home situation isn’t perfect, small improvements have the potential to make a big difference. Following these tips will ensure your home workspace is ergonomically designed so that you’ll avoid pain and office-related injuries.
Keep in mind that everybody’s body is different. Listen to your body. If you’re experiencing neck or back pain and are concerned about your at-home work environment, visit us at Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren, is committed to providing exceptional care and treatments for a wide range of spine problems.