Fast forward a year later and those “temporary home offices” have become permanent fixtures, with people experiencing various levels of discomfort and progressive musculoskeletal disorders due to poorly set up workspaces and little to no movement.
If you find yourself sore and achy after sitting at your home office desk all day, then it’s time to make some changes, especially if you’ll be working remotely for the foreseeable future.
The following are recommendations from the Back2Health Chiropractic team on how to protect your spine when working from home:
#1: Get a good desk
- enough space for your monitor at least an arm’s length away from your face,
- your arms to rest at a 90-degree angle so your wrists align with the level of your elbows, and
- your knees should be level with your hips with an appropriately sized chair.
Depending on what you need to do your job, keep frequently used objects close to you to minimize reaching. If you make regular phone calls then keep your phone nearby and use a headset if possible to avoid straining your neck and elbow to hold it. If you regularly Zoom, ensure you are looking eye level at the camera. Depending on your height, either place some books underneath your computer, or a few cushions underneath your seat, to maintain eye level with your computer screen.
Your feet should be comfortably placed on the floor. If you are vertically challenged, you may struggle to get your chair in a comfortable position so your feet are touching the floor. If you can’t reach the floor, get a footrest or a small platform to rest them on.
#2: Stretch it out
Some simple and quick stretches at your desk throughout the day can reduce the build-up of muscular tension. Rolling your wrists every once and a while can help to avoid painful conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome. To encourage circulation, try making a tight fist then slowly sliding each finger up one at a time until they’re all pointing straight (then repeat 5-10 times).
#3: Take an eye break
- Practice focusing on different objects and different distances at ten seconds each time.
- Move your eye around in circles and up and down to stretch and strengthen eye muscles.
#4: Stay Hydrated (and fed)
If you’re the kind of person who gets so busy that you forget to eat lunch, block off your lunch hour in your calendar so others can’t book appointments with you. You can also set timers to remind you when it’s lunchtime.
When you are well-fed and hydrated your brain will function more efficiently too!
How to treat #WorkFromHome aches and pains
Other therapies a chiropractor may recommend to treat your aches and pains from work injuries include:
- Pressure Point Massage: Traditional Chinese Medicine discovered that the human body has an interconnected web of energy that connects the different areas of your body. When you apply pressure to one area, a totally separate area of the body might also find relief.
For example: there is a pressure point in the web between your thumb and first finger that when pressure is applied there, you may experience relief from shoulder pain. For lower back pain from sitting at your home office desk all day, related pressure points can be found on your waist and midway up your calf muscle.
- Trigenics: In this new neuromuscular technique, the therapist uses an advanced muscle testing technique to locate areas of neuromuscular weakness or imbalance in your body. A combination of muscle manipulations and focused breathing and movements can be used to help restore the energetic balance in your body. It’s often recommended to help enhance the work of your chiropractor.
Not only can this therapy help you heal from typical desk-worker injury and strain, but it can also help give you a much-needed boost of energy too!
- Laser Therapy: Sometimes the pain goes deeper than massage can reach. This is when we might recommend laser therapy. It allows us to reach inflamed tissues deeper under your skin so you can get relief from pain in your shoulder, elbows, joints, neck, or upper back.
- Acupuncture: Some work-from-home aches and pains can be corrected through Acupuncture. In this ancient Chinese practice, fine needles are placed in your skin at specific points to bring relief through realigning your “qi” (or your life spirit). It’s also an effective therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome.