The PAINS of WORKING FROM HOME
Many people, both adults and children, now find themselves in a situation where they are required to work or participate in school from home. This can be difficult for many reasons, including that it can lead to pain in the neck, back, or even in the arms and legs. One of the best ways to prevent any new symptoms of pain or worsening of old injuries is to have proper ergonomics of your home work/school environment.
It may be tempting to work from the comforts of your couch, but you benefit most from having a stable surface whether that be a desk or kitchen table. Regardless of the surface you are working on, below are tips to have the best possible set up to minimize pain or injury:
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Set up laptop or tablet directly in front of you to minimize rotation from the neck or trunk.
Align laptop or tablet screen so the top of the screen is level with your eyes to avoid excessive neck flexion.
Sit with feet supported on the floor or a footrest.
Chair height should be adjusted, if possible, to create about a 90 degree angle at the hips.
Sit up tall with your head stacked over your spine, shoulders back, and aligned with hips. A chair with firm back support can help maintain this posture.
Keep elbows close to your side with about a 90 degree angle at the elbows.
Take frequent rest breaks! At the minimum, try to stand up every hour and take an active rest break such as a short walk or performing a few stretches.
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Another excellent option is to create or purchase a standing desk. Desks that have the ability to go up and down are best, so you can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day and therefore change the forces on your body and spine. Accessories such as an external keyboard, mouse, or stylus can also be used to help optimize the alignment of your neck and arms. Working from home, however, you may need to get creative. For instance, you can use books or boxes to prop your feet or computer to attain the best possible set up or you can go between a desk and kitchen counter to change your position.
Having a proper home work/school set up is a great place to start, however if you continue to have aches or pains related to working from home, physical therapy can help to address any limitations in mobility or strength that may also be contributing to your symptoms.
If you have been struggling with pain working from home or have any questions, reach out to Connect Physical Therapy and schedule an appointment or free consultation today!
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