Working at home? Here’s how to keep your back comfortable and healthy

Protect your back while working remotely

Some of us have been working from home because of COVID-19, while others are working remotely for the long haul. In either event, remote workers have a bit more freedom to work wherever they want in their own home.

Unfortunately, there’s a major side effect that many workers overlook: back pain. Specifically, this comes from working on beds, sofas, or chairs that weren’t made for long-term seating.

The sooner you take steps to prioritize your back’s health, the less long-term damage you’ll be at risk for facing. Read below to learn how you can protect your back while working out of the office.

The risks of poor posture

Simply put, poor posture can change the shape of your body and leave you susceptible to back pain in the long-term.

Specifically, you might face some or all of these problems as a result of poor posture:

  • Spine curvature

  • Back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Headaches

Fortunately, you can stop these from happening while working at home. The key is to strategically choose your seating. Learn more about this below:

Choosing proper seating while working from home

Spine posture

No matter what you’re using as seating, you can always correct your posture. This is a step that is often overlooked, but fortunately, it is the easiest thing to do.

Simply sit up, keep your back straight, and relax your shoulders whenever possible.

Pro-tip: Set an alarm every hour or two reminding you to correct your posture. After getting reminded enough, you’ll eventually learn to naturally fix your posture.

Eye alignment to screen

If your line of work involves having you look at a computer screen for an extended period of time, it’s important to consider the angle at which you look at the screen.

It’s easy falling into the trap of looking down at your monitor. You might be sitting on the couch with your laptop on your knees, or sitting at a desk that is not leveled particularly high. Laptops aren’t held up as high as most computer monitors, so it’s often difficult to change the level of your screen.

Still, the best thing to do for your neck is to look forward at the screen, or at least keep your line of sight below 30 degrees under your eyeline.

This way, your neck won’t take on extra unnecessary pressure.

Rest your feet flat

You might be surprised to learn this, but the position of your feet can affect how the rest of your body feels – even while you’re seated for hours.

Keeping your feet flat on the ground is the best thing you can do for your spinal health. It’s reasonable to expect that you’ll occasionally change the position of your feet – you might, for example, cross your legs or lift your feet up. Try to avoid doing this for too long, as it can compromise your posture.

If your feet become uncomfortable, try getting up and stretching or walking around, rather than keeping your feet in compromising positions.

Working in bed? Limit yourself to half an hour

We know that working in bed is tempting. You might wish you were able to catch a few more Z’s before working, or you might want to curl up to be comfortable.

Professionals don’t recommend doing this, as working on a laptop while lying down requires a particular harmful neck angle. However, if you do end up choosing this position for a while, try to limit yourself to only thirty minutes or less. Anything longer than this is significantly more harmful. Additionally, try stretching exercises before and after getting out of bed for additional support.

How to perform stretch breaks

One of the best ways to reverse the strain that sitting down for extended periods leaves on your body? Taking stretch breaks, of course.

Simply taking one minute every hour to stretch can make a huge difference. Even if you don’t schedule time to stretch, you may choose to do it before or after washroom breaks.

Stretching can help your neck, shoulder, and back, and prevent pain. Consider performing these stretches:

  • Stand with one leg, and place the other leg perpendicular, on a chair. Bend your back forward, touching your foot on the chair

  • Extend your arm straight to the opposite side of your body, wrapping your other arm around it

  • Stand and stretch your knee backwards, grabbing your foot

  • Sit down, and lift each knee upwards, grabbing underneath it

Try doing these for at least twenty seconds at a time.

Seeing a chiropractor can help

If you’ve been seated for years without thinking about your posture, you might be worried – is it too late to protect your back?

Fortunately, it’s never too late to see a change. Whether your back is deeply sore from posture-related issues, or you want to see an improvement of any kind, a chiropractor can help.

At Elysian Wellness Centre, our trained professionals can help you achieve comfort and good spinal health – even if you forget to check your posture, now and then. Contact us today.

Alex Tieu

Dr. Alex Tieu is a chiropractor with a passion for helping others achieve their health goals. Dr. Tieu wants to help his patients achieve optimal health and feel their best. He firmly believes that chiropractic care can make a significant difference in people's lives.

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