Office Ergonomics: 5 Tips For Preventing Back Pain When Working From Home

Working remotely can be marvelously freeing. However, if your search history is filled with terms like “local massage therapist” and “osteo near me” since you shifted to a home office, it’s important to address the underlying causes of your back pain. Your doctor and osteopath can help you rule out anything that needs medical attention. Once that’s done, it’s time to turn to your posture. The tips below should help.

1. Optimize your ergonomics

Many people who work from home fail to set up a dedicated office space. While it may be nice to work from bed, the sofa, or the kitchen counter some days, these spots are not designed to accommodate hours of work and are highly likely to leave you in a world of pain. 

If you haven’t already done so, set up a dedicated workspace and equip it with the ergonomic features you need. We recommend investing in a convertible standing desk so you can switch between standing and sitting. When seated, an exercise ball or an ergonomic office chair are ideal for improving your posture and preventing back pain. 

2. Take regular movement breaks

While you may sometimes need to slip into the zone and smash out a few hours of work in one sitting, ideally, you want to be taking a break and getting some movement in every hour. All it takes is 2-5 minutes of jumping jacks, squats, pushups, or standing stretches to get movement back in your joints. Your back will thank you!

3. Get your eyes checked

This one may seem a little odd, but if you find yourself squinting at the screen and craning your neck forward while you work, you’re going to experience a lot of neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. It’s also an indicator that you may need to see an optometrist. So, take the plunge, get your eyes checked, and if you do need glasses, consider investing in blue-light blocking lenses that will help to reduce eye strain. If you don’t need glasses, consider increasing the font size of any documents you work on, so you’re not tempted to crane your neck. 

4. Add stretching to your routine

Whether you indulge in a daily session of restorative yoga or follow a set of exercises provided by your osteopath, stretching can do wonders for your body. One of the biggest benefits of stretching is that it reduces musculoskeletal pain. When you stretch your muscles out, you prevent them from becoming chronically contracted. In turn, this ensures that no muscle group is pulling on your hips or spine and creating alignment issues. 

5. Feel free to mix it up

Take advantage of the freedom that’s afforded to you as a remote worker and switch up your workplace throughout the day. Enjoy 20 minutes of working from the sofa if it makes you happy, but then move to your ergonomically designed office for the rest of the morning. Once in the office, switch between standing and sitting every hour or so. If you feel like enjoying the energizing aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans while working at your local café, go for it! 

Your sofa, the stools in your kitchen, and the chairs at the café aren’t ergonomically ideal. However, if you avoid spending too much time in one position, swapping between these spots can be a great way to ensure you’re naturally getting enough movement throughout the day.  

Implement each of the above strategies in your home office, and you should be able to say goodbye to posture-related back pain. 

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