For some people, working from home has become a new reality. The convenience of this current norm has resonated positively with most, however it has also created less than ideal work-space environments. Some have found an office on their couch or bed propping their laptop on their knees, while others have set up in the kitchen with a table and chair height that is not designed for prolonged sitting. As a result, these new behaviors are negatively impacting peoples bodies and creating unnecessary pain or discomfort in their neck, shoulders and back.
As chiropractors, it is our job to ensure the joints of the body are functioning optimally during various activities. We are continually educating our patients on the most effective ways to avoid injury and protect your bodies while working. Taking the time to set up a proper work station is key to maintaining a healthy spine and easing those aches and pains. Below are a list of tips you can implement to ensure a proper work space.
If possible, I highly recommend a standing desk for any work setup. However, this may not be convenient for many with limited available space.
A proper work station will definitely protect your body from the stiffness and pain associated with poor ergonomics. However, did you know that sitting puts the most amount of stress on your joints than other position? It is important to also consider movement while working from home. When we are consumed with a task, many of us can get lost in our computers and forget that our body is craving movement and our eyes need a rest from the strain of staring at a monitor. Try incorporating some form of walking or standing into your work day. I recommend you try walking around or standing while taking phone calls, or setting an alarm every 30-60 minutes to remind yourself to get moving, stretch, foam roll and hydrate. By implementing a schedule for movement, you are essentially forming a healthy habit that will allow you to be more effective while working and to honor your body in the process.
In addition to movement, our bodies crave a good stretch especially following an extended period of sitting. Here are a few stretches you can do while sitting at your desk.
- Neck rolls; bring your right ear to your right shoulder – you can place your right hand on the top of your head and allow the pressure of the hand to add some more stretch – DO NOT PUSH WITH YOUR HAND; take your eyes and look towards your right armpit; switch sides
- Reaching your arms overhead and interlacing your fingers; you can also bring them shoulder level and round your back;
- Cat Cow Stretches; alternating between rounding your back and than sticking your chest out – this can also be performed on all fours on the ground
- Spinal twists – releases some tension in your mid back;
- Wrist rolls and
- Lean forward from your hips and let your hands try and touch the ground to open up the space in your low back
Being mindful of our bodies while working from home will create a healthy environment that supports our physical and mental wellbeing. Remembering to set up an ergonomically correct workstation, change positions often, take mini breaks, stretch, and manage your stress are key to ensuring your success and while creating healthy habits. If you have more questions or concerns regarding working from home or chiropractic feel free to reach out!