Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, countless people have been forced to set up workspaces at home without the right set of equipment.
With long hours spent in front of screens – whether it’s on couches, beds, or at-home desks – chiropractors can’t help but notice how some common work-from-home behaviors, like hunching over a coffee table or siting awkwardly for long hours, have become widespread, resulting in poor postures and back pain.
Some never even realize that a bad setup can negatively impact their posture and musculoskeletal health. If you’re suffering from neck, back, or head pain while working, it may be due to poor ergonomics at home.
What Is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the process of arranging and designing products, workplaces, and systems in a way that fits your workstyle. Usually, ergonomics is associated with proper seating or car control designs; however, ergonomics applies to the design of everything that involves people, including their workspace.
Ergonomics mainly aims to improve one’s workspace and environment to lessen the risk of injuries or harm. In the workplace, ergonomics incorporates human abilities and limitations — which includes one’s size, strength, speed, skill, attitudes, and sensory abilities — into the workspace design. Without the proper work-from-home ergonomics, an improper posture can lead to potential harm and injuries under a lot of stress and strain in your new work environment.
How You Can Have an Ergonomically-Correct Workspace
Remote work can put the neck, back, and shoulders under a lot of stress. Given that desk-type work setups are expected to persist even post-pandemic, it is important to practice self-care and minimize the pain points around our bodies.
As experts in joints, muscles, and spines, our dedicated team of affiliated chiropractors has provided some helpful tips for a more efficient, healthful, and posture-friendly work-from-home setup:
1. Maintain Good Posture
According to chiropractor Dr. Hardick, when people are at the computer, their posture is often wrong, which can cause misalignment and pain if not corrected immediately. Also, people make the common mistake of looking down at their computer and protruding their necks towards the screen. This causes the shoulders to roll forward.
It is important, when applying the best ergonomics for working from home, to ensure that you establish good working posture. To achieve this, try sitting in a neutral position while keeping your spine relaxed, and elevating your monitor to a position slightly above your head.
2. Stretch Your Hands
If you are suffering from wrist strain and finger pain while working, this may be due to carpal tunnel-like symptoms from excessive typing and clicking. The number of hours attributed to this activity can only worsen the issue the higher it goes.
One way to tick the box on your working-from-home ergonomic checklist, as per Dr. Hardick, is to keep some rubber bands at your desk for occasional hand stretches.
Extend your fingers, wrap a rubber band around your thumb and pinky, and engage the extensor muscles at the back of your hand by flexing. Doing so is better than a stress ball, as the latter only keeps your fingers stretched and positioned forward.
3. Move Your Body
Movement is a great way to keep yourself free from pain. Apart from having an ergonomically correct workstation, another good application of work-from-home ergonomics is moving around from time to time. It’s not healthy to remain idle for hours without breaks. Given the amount of stress that someone can experience on a daily basis, it’s important to rest and calm your mind and body.
4. Have a Designated Workspace
Another of the best ergonomic strategies for working from home is having an area dedicated specifically for work. Having this space is crucial to ensure the privacy of your life, your clients, and your company. It also helps to condition your mind to maintain proper posture while at the workstation while allowing you to relax elsewhere at your leisure. By practicing a strict routine, you can reduce back problems and work at a more optimal pace.
5. Seek Professional Advice
Spending long hours in front of a screen can stress your health. Poor posture — while negligible at first – can result in cumulative trauma disorder or repetitive stress injury. It’s vital that, if you start experiencing any problematic pain that hinders your way of life, you stop it in its tracks. Don’t allow these issues to go untreated.
These tips may serve as sufficient initial steps to a more comfortable work-from-home setup; however, for the best possible care, we at the Advanced Chiropractors Group can connect you to the best and most dedicated ergonomic professionals to provide you with the necessary therapies. Nurture your overall health with the best ergonomics for working from home today. Call us for any inquiries, and we will not hesitate to get your health back on track.