While working from home has always been a way of life for some people, others have had to embrace it as a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the office, you have the advantage of using company furniture which most of the time follows ergonomic standards. This is a privilege that you may not afford at home. You are therefore likely to be straining your body, making you highly susceptible to back pain. Here is how you can reduce your chances of getting back pains while working from home.
Get a Proper Chair
One of the most important things that you need to consider when working from home is the chair that you will be using. You are likely to spend a lot of time seated on it, hence, you want to invest in a proper office chair.
Preferably, it should have a height adjustment so that you are able to get the appropriate height and avoid straining your neck or your legs. The chair should be designed in a way that facilitates a good posture. Also, it should have lower back support to enable you to sit in an S-shape, which is the natural shape of the spine.
Place the Screen at a Comfortable Position
The other thing that you need to do is to place your screen at a height that is comfortable for viewing. This means not placing it in a way that you do not have to bend your neck to look down at it. You should also avoid angling it to the side such that you have to twist your neck to view. All these are to avoid straining your neck and developing neck and back pains.
You need to elevate your screen such that you are able to easily view it at a straight line. You can use a pile of books or cardboard for this. If you are using a laptop, you can get a separate mouse and keypad so that you are able to do the same for the laptop screen.
Ensure that Your Arms Are Comfortable
Now that you have your screen raised to the right level, it’s now time that you think about the mouse and keyboard. The nerves in your wrist, arms, shoulder, and neck are interconnected. Hence, by stressing the nerves in your arms, you will be stressing your neck and shoulder as well. This can lead to back pain.
You should therefore place your keyboard in a way that your arms will be comfortable and straight. The placement of the mouse should allow your arms to be close to the side of your body so that you are not stressing your nerves by stretching out your arms.
Avoid Working from Your Bed
Whether you are looking for a change of scenery or just making do with what you have, you may find yourself working from your bed. This is however not recommended. It is because you will be forced to support the laptop on your laps. This will give you a viewing position that is too low, requiring you to bend over. This will be harmful to your back in the long run.
If you have to work from your bed, place a pillow behind your back and have it resting against the headboard, to act as your back support. Placing your laptop on a cushion instead of directly on your lap will also help you to get a more appropriate viewing position. Better yet, you can get a low table that will go over your legs.
Give Yourself a Break
Even if you are observing good posture, it is still not healthy for you to continuously sit down for a long time. As such, you should ensure that you are taking regular breaks. This will help you to refresh your mind as you also stretch your muscles and give the strain on your spine a break. Try and do this every 30 minutes to 1 hour, even if it’s just to stand up then sit down. You should however try and take a walk, whether to take a snack, get lunch, or even just taking a lap around your house.
Another way to give yourself a break from sitting is to periodically switch with a standing work station. If possible, also try and alternate between voice input and typing to give your shoulders, arms, and wrists a break.
If you haven’t already done so, you need to change the way you go about working from home before you do a lot of harm to your body. You can adapt to a healthier working situation at home using the above ways, to prevent back pain.