Adopting a hybrid and remote workplace has been one of the key changes in the workforce during the past two years. Offering numerous benefits and greater flexibility, working from home has made a considerable impact on our society. However, back pain while working from home has proven to be a new challenge.
The Difference Between the Office and a Home Workstation
After years of being in the pre-pandemic workforce, you may wonder why now is the first time you’re experiencing significant back pain. When working from home, you could be sitting at your kitchen table, reclining on a lawn chair, relaxing on your couch, or at any number of locations. While comfortable in the moment, many of these new ways that you work remotely may not provide your back with the adequate support it needs for an eight-hour workday.
When working in the office, your employer is encouraged to provide an ergonomic workstation. Ergonomics is the science of designing equipment and the workplace to suit the human body, allowing people to work as efficiently as possible. Ergonomics was developed as a way to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace, which can affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons.
MSDs are one of the leading causes of lost work time, so to optimize the workplace, your employer is responsible for providing a safe and healthy environment. When working from home or in a local coffee shop, you may not be in an ergonomically designed setting, which is why you may have developed back pain.
4 Ways to Prevent Back Pain While Working From Home
Fortunately, there are numerous lifestyle changes and ways that you can optimize your home workstation to prevent back pain:
1. Buy Ergonomic Equipment
Setting up your home workstation with ergonomic equipment is one of the best ways to stop back pain. Some tips to keep in mind when setting up your workspace include:
- Sit in a comfortable chair that supports the natural S-shape of your back.
- Use an adjustable desk that allows your elbows to rest at 90-degrees or more.
- Place your monitor so that your eye level is two to three inches below the top of the screen. Make sure that the monitor is also an arms-length away.
- Keep your wrists flat near the keyboard, not angled upwards.
- Use a comfortable mouse that fits your hand.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle.
2. Engage in Consistent Exercise
Exercising regularly is crucial to your joint and spine health for several reasons. Consistent exercise enhances your muscular strength, which supports your joints. It also allows you to maintain a healthy weight, reducing stress and excess pressure off your spine and other structures. If you’re experiencing back pain, here are some exercises you can start incorporating into your daily routine:
- Weight training
3. Invest in a Standing Desk
Oftentimes dubbed the “new smoking,” sitting has become an epidemic of its own in the United States. To combat the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle, it may be beneficial to invest in a standing desk. Many standing desks are adjustable so that you can set them to a height that is ergonomically suited to your comfort, with your elbows resting between 90 and 120 degrees.
4. Take Breaks
Adults should complete at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week. However, even if you meet this goal before or after work, it is critical to take breaks throughout the day from your desk. Moving at least once an hour can provide many benefits for your body, including:
- Relieves stiff joints
- Promotes circulation
- Improves your posture
- Stimulates creativity
- Boosts metabolism
- Increases energy
Find Relief From Your Back Pain at NJ Spine and Wellness
If you or a loved one is experiencing persistent back pain that has failed to respond to the above lifestyle changes, contact NJ Spine and Wellness. At NJ Spine and Wellness, we offer an extensive range of non-surgical and surgical back treatments. Request an appointment at one of our locations today to start getting better faster.