Working from Home Doesn’t Have to Be a (Literal) Pain, How to Get Rid of a Few Bad Habits

By  //  November 18, 2020

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tips to reduce pain while working from home

We’re missing out on the ergonomic setups we had at the workplace. Now, many of us feel the strain of sitting in less-than-comfortable spaces – and our bodies are feeling the aches and pains. So, what are we to do when we don’t have a dedicated home office that’s designed to be comfortable for a full workday? Well, we can adjust – and include basic items to make the best of a home office space. (Health First image)

NREBARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Sure, the comfort of home was bliss before the pandemic – our bodies melting into soft, soothing couch cushions after a long day of work or enjoying a nice meal around the family dining room table. But our comfort areas are now doubling as our home offices, with many of us still adapting to a new work-from-home culture.

We’re missing out on the ergonomic setups we had at the workplace. Now, many of us feel the strain of sitting in less-than-comfortable spaces – and our bodies are feeling the aches and pains.

So, what are we to do when we don’t have a dedicated home office that’s designed to be comfortable for a full workday? Well, we can adjust – and include basic items to make the best of a home office space.

“It can be difficult to be productive and energetic when you’re having neck and back pain or even sore wrists and shoulders from not using a comfortable chair,” said Dr. Timothy Laird, Interim Chief Medical Officer with Health First.

“This is just one example of how a lack of proper ergonomics could lead to physical problems and discomfort.”

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If you’ve been working from home for months or just began, it’s not too late to get rid of a few bad habits. Here’s how:

Seated Neutral Posture: This is a comfortable working body position that keep your joints naturally aligned, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It helps to reduce the body’s stress and strain on muscles, tendons and the skeletal system.

Keep in mind the following when ensuring proper neutral body postures:
▪ Keep your hands, wrists and forearms straight, in line and roughly parallel to the floor.
▪ Make sure your head is level, forward-facing and balanced. Keep it in line with the torso.
▪ Your shoulders should be relaxed and your upper arms should hang normally, at the side of the body.
▪ Keep your elbows close to the body and bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
▪ Ensure your feet are fully supported by the floor. A footrest may be used if the desk height is not adjustable.
▪ Back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support when sitting vertical or leaning back.

Chair: A firm chair will keep your body posture at its best throughout the workday. Yes, the sofa might be calling – but it’s not the best place for the posture we need to be productive.

Table/Desk: This area should be able to manage all the equipment you need to effectively perform your job duties. A flat dining room table or countertop is suitable, too, if you want to avoid buying a new desk. The recommended height should be in line with the middle of the keyboard – elbow height, which can reduce joint pain in your wrists and forearms.

Monitors/Laptop: Both screens should be an arm’s length away from your eyes to reduce any straining. They should also be at eye level.

“Work is a priority but so, too, is your health,” Dr. Laird said.

“We should all take small breaks to get up and move around, do stretches to relieve any minor aches and go for a walk to give your mind and body the exercise it needs when working from home.”

And don’t forget about your eyes – they need a break, too. Take some time every so often and step away from monitors, laptops and your phone. It’ll help to avoid strain and soreness.
Also, make sure you don’t brush off any discomfort you might be feeling.

“Don’t ignore pain,” Dr. Laird said. “These ergonomic tips aim to help remedy any aches while working from home or prevent pain before it happens, which could cause serious problems now or further down the road.”

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