How to Make Working From Home Work for You

More people are currently working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.   It is important to be cognizant of your sitting posture and workstation ergonomics.  Here are a few tips to help avoid neck and back pain, overuse injuries and postural strain.

Workstation Ergonomics

Shared From NIH Computer Workstation Ergonomics: Self Assessment Checklist

Properly setting up your workspace for optimal positioning is important in preventing neck pain and back pain while sitting at a desk.

  • Lower back support
    • Can be achieved by rolling up a towel into the small of your back.  Make sure to slide your hips all the way back in the chair. 
  • Arm support
    • If the chair does not have proper arm support, this can cause unnecessary compensation from the upper trap and postural muscles causing soreness, headaches, and fatigue. 
  • Wrists in a neutral position
    • Chair can be moved up or down to allow the wrists to rest comfortably on the keyboard
  • Monitor at eye level
    • Neck should be in a neutral position when looking at the screen
  • Thighs should be parallel to the floor
    • This allows for a more neutral spine and decreases the stress put on the piriformis and other musculature

Move it or Lose it

Every 30 minutes you should be getting up from your desk (set a timer!) to go to the bathroom, get a drink, do some stretches, or take a short walk out to the mailbox.  This is important to decrease eye strain, promote circulation, and decrease muscle tension. 

Desk Stretches

Doing simple stretches throughout the day while at your desk will help to maintain flexibility and decrease muscle imbalances.  2 examples of stretches are listed below:

Figure 4 stretch (seated piriformis stretch)

A picture containing person, indoor, man, window

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  • Begin sitting upright in a chair with both feet on the ground. Bring the ankle of one leg up onto the knee of your opposite leg
  • Keep your back straight and lean forward from your hips until you feel a stretch in your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds

Upper trapezius stretch

A person standing in a room

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  • Begin sitting grasping one side of your chair.
  • Bend your neck sideways to your opposite shoulder and lean away from the arm that is grasping the chair.  Hold for 30 seconds

Your posture and ergonomics when working from home don’t have to suffer.  Your sitting form may decline with fatigue so remember to do “self-checks” throughout the day.  Remember, we are now offering telehealth visits which would allow us to assess your personal desk set up and make appropriate ergonomic and exercise recommendations that are tailored to your needs! Reach out to us with any questions or to schedule your appointment today.

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