As a result of the pandemic many of us have started to work from home or are now transitioning to hybrid working. Working from home can be difficult, especially if you haven’t got a dedicated office space or similar equipment that you would find within an office environment ( Desk, Suitable chair, monitor , ect… ) Many people suffer with both lower back and neck tightness as a result of working from home which -
often can be managed more efficiently by implementing good habits into your daily routine. Being at home for several months has transformed many of us into couch potatoes. By doing this you’re attracting musculoskeletal problems as you grow more relaxed in the new norm. As a result , an increasing number of people are experiencing debilitating pain in their back and neck.
Tip 1 - Move more
This may sound simple but can often be disregarded and forgotten about when working from home. You may find yourself completing various elements of work, getting into a good rhythm and feeling productive. Before you know it a few hours have passed and you haven’t moved from your place of work. As you stay stationary for long periods your body will begin to feel stiff and tighten up. Just by getting up, walking around or maybe heading to the kitchen to grab a drink can help break up your work session and ease the tightness within your body.
Many people simply forget to do this and lose track of time. A good idea to help combat this is to set a timer on your phone every hour to remind you to get up and start moving. Also try setting yourself time based targets and having breaks after you’ve completed them!
Tip 2 - Do your stretches!
Stretching can be quite boring especially if you’re doing the same ones everyday. However, there’s a reason why therapists and healthcare professionals prescribe and swear by a good and consistent stretching regime, it works! Various studies have found that just 3 sessions a week consistently will help reduce perceived tightness and increase limb range of motion (Marques, et.al).
That being said it can be quite difficult to know or understand what stretches you should be doing to help combat specific tightness. If you do need any help or guidance in regards to stretching then ‘Click here’ and we will help as best we can.
Tip 3 - Create the best working environment
You may find yourself restricted for space when working from home or working in a space that may not be suitable for long periods of sitting (sofa , bed , kitchen chair ect). Take the time to think about your working space and what can make it better. For example some simple things to consider are….
> Is your chair supporting your lower back?
> Laptop / monitor height
> Desk height
Chair - Often overlooked, the chair that you use has a massive impact on your posture and body positioning. If you’re still working from a kitchen chair / stool it might be worth investing in a chair that’s better suited to prolonged sitting. Another option is to use a lumbar support which can be as simple as a rolled up towel behind your back to encourage good posture or alternatively you can buy them online.
Laptop / Monitor height - A very simple solution to help with that tight neck and improve your sitting position is to find the most efficient screen height. This is simple and can be done by ensuring that the monitor that you’re using is raised so the top of the screen is eye level when sitting straight. This will help maintain a good posture and limit the amount of time you spend slouching at your workspace.
Desk - Desk height will differ from person to person depending on their height and chair positioning. If possible opt for an adjustable desk so when creating your ideal working environment you can test various heights to see what works best for you. Having an adjustable desk may also mean you can stand up whilst working. Many people find that standing for portions of the day helps with perceived tightness they encounter.
Tip 4 - Ask for Advice.
Hopefully the tips provided help ease your tightness or any pain you might be experiencing when working from home. Sometimes, there may be an underlying issue or mechanical fault with your body positioning or soft tissue structures which can be resolved with various manual therapy techniques such as manipulations , massage , acupuncture ect…. If you feel like this is the case and there may be an issue to be resolved then don’t hesitate to get into contact with a local therapist who will be able to assess and advise where possible.
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