Back Pain Work from Home: Tips to Stay Pain-Free
Working from home and starting to feel back pain? If you spend long hours in front of your computer, writing emails and working on reports, back pain is a common side effect. Prolonged sitting has made it so easy for many individuals to develop a sedentary lifestyle, and it’s causing a lot of health problems, back pain being one of the first symptoms. In fact, a research conducted by the Institute of Employment Studies revealed an increase in problems related to musculoskeletal disorders among home workers, with 55% of respondents reporting back pain.
If you work from home and back pain is one thing that you constantly experience, there are some things you can do to address the problem.
Addressing Back Pain When Working from Home
Start by being aware of yourself and the condition of your working environment. Do some necessary checks, and then adjust accordingly.
Check your working environment
Is your home office conducive to comfortable and productive work? Do you have enough space for all your office equipment, as well as the right equipment to do the job well? Does your space get enough lighting and ventilation, and is it free from all the distracting noise outside and around you?
Here are some things you can do:
- Designate a specific area for your home office, an area where you can do all the work you need to do, and separate from other areas in your home. Avoid doing your work in the bedroom, in the kitchen, or even in the living room in front of the television. Have a working area that is for work alone.
- Ensure that you have a good desk and chair that will support your body as you do all the necessary tasks you need to do for the day. Consider a standing desk and an ergonomic chair to give your body the support it needs.
- Check that your space is getting enough lighting. Natural lighting is ideal, so find a space with windows. However, if that is not possible, ensure that you have sufficient ambient light as you work. Similarly, design your space so that you get enough ventilation and the right temperature—not too cold and not too warm.
Check your stress level
Did you know that stress can manifest in physical symptoms, in the forms of aches and pains, specifically back pain? If you feel your working environment is not the problem and not the cause of the back pain you are experiencing, check whether the cause may be mental in nature. Do you feel a lot of stress and anxiety at work? Or are you under a constant amount of pressure? These could be among the reasons you experience back pain. Work from home set-ups can especially create a chaotic working environment if you don’t manage your time well.
Consider the following:
- Establish clear boundaries between your personal and professional life. One of the reasons home workers experience stress is the constant overlap between home and work responsibilities. But, while this might be a given in work-from-home environments, you must find the discipline to set certain boundaries so you can focus on work during certain times of the day and on your home responsibilities during other times. This will significantly improve your mental health.
- Strengthen your connection with family, colleagues, and friends. One other challenge with a remote working set-up is the feeling of isolation, and this can create stress that might manifest in back pain. So, even if you don’t have a chance to meet people face-to-face regularly, make sure to connect with them virtually—schedule calls, chat with friends, keep your circles close. They will help you maintain a healthy level of sanity.
- Declutter your space. They say a cluttered space often leads to a cluttered mind, and this is true. If you constantly feel suffocated in your space, everything around you in disarray, it will be hard to focus and feel productive at work, and this can be a source of stress and back pain, as well as other physical symptoms. So keep your working area clean and tidy.
When you experience back pain while working from home, remember that it can be a manifestation of a problem that you need to address, whether a problem inside of you or outside of you. But the good thing is, you can do something about it. Make adjustments in your working environment and recalibrate your mental outlook to keep things at a healthy level.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to avoid distractions from noise when you are working from home is to choose an area for your home office that is away from all the activities in the house and one that is not near the road or the neighbors. If you can, you may have the room sound-proofed. If these are not possible, then your next best option is to invest in a set of high-quality headphones with a noise-cancellation feature.
Creating an ergonomic space involves some enhancements in the various elements in the space other than the standing desk and ergonomic chair. Check your working accessories as well. Are your keyboard and mouse designed ergonomically? Do you have space for all your equipment, and are all of these placed in such a way that access to them is easy and convenient? Is the space well ventilated? Does it get enough lighting? All of these factors affect the ergonomics of the space, and therefore they must be considered when doing adjustments and enhancements.
The following are some of the things you can do to get instant back pain relief:
- Stretch and exercise. Stimulate all those muscles in your back.
- Get relief from a heat or an ice pack, depending on what feels comfortable for you.
- Massage the area. Either get a professional massage or use a massage gun or ball for relief.
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