Working From Home Without The Pain
As we adjust to our new normal, many more of us are working from home, and often without a proper work station. Working from the couch, bed or dining room table can put a lot more stress on our necks and backs. Even if you have a proper work station, poor sitting habits can leave you feeling sore. Here are a few things to keep in mind when working from home.
Classic Ergonomic Advice - How To Sit
Avoid slouching - using a pillow as a back support and scooching your hips to the back of the seat can help
Keep your feet are flat on the ground - place a stool or book under your feet if they don’t reach
Your thighs should be parallel with the ground
Keep your keyboard is close to you
Drop your arms to your sides and keep elbows bent 90 degrees
Adjust your display so the top is at eye level - raise your display on books if needed
While this is good advice, it is difficult to do this for a whole day. Holding any position will eventually cause stiffness and tension!
THERE IS NO "BEST" WAY TO SIT
Movement Is Key
One of the best pieces of ergonomic advice I give my patients is to get up and move often. Changing your body position is a simple way to avoid stiffness and tension. So while working at a desk is ideal, if you like to work on the couch, go ahead but only for a short time.
CHANGE POSITIONS EVERY 20-30 MINUTES
These short 30 second breaks can go a long way in reducing the stiffness that can build-up through the day. Two simple micro-breaks are the standing overhead arm reach, and the standing Brugger exercise.
Standing Overhead Reach
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
Gently raise your arms overhead.
Take a deep breath in through your nose, and hold the breath.
Reach your arms up to the ceiling as high as possible without letting your breath go.
Then let the breath go as you drop your arms
Stand with your feet slightly further apart than your hips.
Turn your feet out slightly.
Tuck your chin in slightly, as if nodding ‘yes’.
Breathe in through your nose.
Then exhale slowly while at the same time: Turning your palms out, with fingers extended and raising your breastbone towards your chin slightly
Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2002) 6(3), 154-155