Back injuries are very common right now and that’s because so many of us are currently working from home. Many back issues are caused by sitting more than usual and probably in a chair that wasn’t designed for a full day at the office. To make matters worse, we’re slouched over a laptop for hours on end. No wonder so many of us are currently enduring back pain or even neck pain. If you can relate to all this, there are some very simple steps you can take to make your work a pain-free exercise.
Mobility is key to avoiding work-related back injuries. Being stuck in one position for too long will hasten the development of back pain, so change position every 30 minutes or so. Set a reminder on your phone or computer device. However, if you start to feel uncomfortable within that 30-minute timeframe, stand up and stretch.
If possible, do as much work as you can while standing up. This is not only beneficial for your back and neck but also promotes good posture and improves your circulation. A laptop stand will allow you to work while you’re on your feet, but you can also use things you have around the house e.g. a sturdy ironing board or a chest of drawers that allow you to type on a keyboard without reaching down too low, or up too high.
Take every opportunity to sit down less and stand up more e.g. if you have an online meeting with colleagues, do it while you’re standing up. If you do have to sit down – to write down notes on a solid surface, for example – use a chair with a straight back. This will reduce the risk of back pain and improve your posture. Maintaining a good posture is very important, so write “posture” on a sticky label and put it on your laptop as an ongoing reminder to pay attention to it during the day.
When it’s time for a break, make it a mobile one. Do some walking laps around your house, or around the block. If you have stairs, include them in your laps. Any form of activity is better than none at all, so mix things up by doing some Pilates, jogging on the spot, stretches, lunges, shadow boxing – whatever it takes to keep you moving during your working day.
At Cairnhill Physio, we’re used to dealing with back injuries. They’re common complaints, but often preventable. So, if you’re in the unfamiliar position of working at home, follow the advice we’ve just given you and you’ll feel much better for doing so. However, if you do experience pain in your back or neck, get in touch with our qualified team.