The work environment has changed for many people. Many have gone from working in their office to working at home. Some are working at home because their company has changed their work policy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Others are self-employed or work for a company that allows remote workers.
Something that many work from home professionals are realizing is that working from home is not always as comfortable as working from an office. In most offices, there are ergonomically correct desks and chairs. At home, people are trying to make do working from their kitchen table while sitting on a dining room chair. The result is increased pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. Thankfully, there are things you can do to minimize your pain and increase your comfort.
The Way That You Sit Makes All the Difference
Until you can upgrade your home office to have the same ergonomically correct desk and chairs you are accustomed to in your traditional office, you need to safeguard your joints and muscles. For example, you can prop up your laptop on a stack of books or raise your monitor. This can help you get yourself and your equipment positioned appropriately.
Working from your soft couch might seem appealing when you are sitting in an office chair. However, sitting on a soft couch and working for hours on end is not good for your back or shoulders. If you are sitting in a chair, get up from time to time and move around. This can help you avoid aches and pains. Here are some other tips that can help.
1. Keep your shoulders relaxed and natural. Your elbows should sit close to your body, and your head should be in line with your body. Your computer’s monitor should be at eye level.
2. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should set a little ahead of your knees. Your knees should be somewhere between a 90 and 120 degree angle. Preferably, use a chair that has a lumbar support cushion. If you do not have one of these yet, get a throw pillow and put it in the small of your back to ease pain.
3. Keep moving. Even if you have the perfect posture, your body is going to hurt if you sit in the same position for too long. Work can become so engrossing that you forget to move. Therefore, it’s good to set a timer that goes off every hour. When the timer goes off, you should:
· Stretch and move around
· Run in place
· Roll your shoulders
· Do jumping jacks
· Touch your toes
· Do arm circles
These activities will get your blood flowing. They will help your body and will improve your mental concentration.
Steps to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain
Maybe you are reading this because you are already suffering from neck, shoulder, or back pain. Doing some of the above mentioned things may help to prevent the pain from getting worse.
If you are already experiencing pain, taking a hot bath using magnesium sulfate could ease the discomfort. Alternating between cold and hot compresses on the affected area could remove inflammation and ease pain. Having a friend, family member, or massage therapist massage the area can increase blood flow and minimize pain.
When possible, invest in a chair and desk that are designed to be ergonomically correct. They may be a little more expensive than other pieces of furniture, but in the long run you are going to see the benefits. Being able to work without pain means that you can work longer, concentrate on your task, and do your job well.
If your pain is constant, you may wish to talk to a medical professional. Physical therapists can provide recommendations on ways that you can improve your posture and correct bad habits that are causing pain. If you are dealing with neck, back, and shoulder pain because of sitting for prolonged periods of time, you can take comfort in knowing that there are several effective therapies available that can help you overcome your pain and get back to living your best life.