The era of working from home that we’ve all experienced over the past year has exposed the flaws in home office setups. Whether you’ve been working at your desk or perched on the edge of a kitchen table it may not have been a particularly comfortable experience, especially if your working hours are long. As a result of this shift to an environment where health and safety measures may not be in place, many people have begun to experience lower back pain. So, what can you do to fix that?
Create a much more ergonomic working environment
Ergonomics are not just for offices - if you can integrate these practices into your home working environment you’re much less likely to suffer with problems such as lower back pain. There are three key elements involved in creating a more ergonomic working environment:
- Review your posture. If you’re working for hours with bad posture it can put a lot of stress on your neck and elbows. It will also force your spine into a ‘C’ shape, which can be damaging for muscles, ligaments and discs. Good posture is where your ears are over your shoulders, elbows are by your sides with wrists comfortably positioned and you have lumbar support for your back.
- Make sure your screen is in the right position. Ideally, it will be in a spot where your eyes rest around three inches below the screen. Your screen should be no more than an arm’s length away from you, with both the keyboard and the mouse within easy reach. If you’re working from home on a laptop it might be useful to get a separate keyboard so that you can elevate the screen on a stand.
- Don’t sit still for too long. You need to move regularly to keep blood circulating through the body so aim to stand and move around every 40-45 minutes. Some simple exercises can help you to ensure that your body stays limber and areas like your lower back don’t stiffen up. Try doing several big shoulder rolls backwards, neck rolls, squats and inhaling deeply and then exhaling forcefully.
Strengthen your area of vulnerability
If your lower back is a problematic place then there are exercises you can do to strengthen it - something
as simple as walking for 30 minutes every day, for example, will not only help to keep you mobile but
strengthen your muscles too. You might also want to try the following:
- Clamshells will help to stabilise your hips and pelvic muscles and strengthen the areas around your lower back.
- A bridge. Regularly doing bridge exercises can strengthen glutes and give you a stronger core which is an essential part of the support structure for your lower back and spine.
- Bird dogs. This is an exercise that targets ab muscles, which will give even more support to that core.
If you have members of your team struggling with lower back pain as a result of working from home these
are some simple fixes. If you need advice or support with Home DSE assessments or Health and
Wellbeing issues give us a call.
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