Even before COVID-19 happened, around 26 million people are working from home, whether part-time or full-time. As more organizations are embracing remote working, the number has increased significantly since the pandemic. If you’re one of them, you may have noticed new aches and pains you never experienced at the office.
Apart from the struggles of working from home, the new work setup has taken a toll on people’s physical health. Today, many are suffering from body pains, headaches, tension, and other physical ailments. Some even had it worst that they had to undergo pain management and integrated medicine to determine the root cause of their chronic pain.
One of the greatest challenges of working from home is that it has forced us to transform parts of our home into temporary working spaces. The sudden adoption of the new work model left little to no time to create a proper workstation.
While an ergonomic work environment isn’t mandated, companies follow a standard about the correct design and structure of workstations, furniture, and accessories. Without these things, people are likely to suffer from poor posture that results in body pains.
Without the typical distractions of work, people are prone to various physical issues that may ultimately lead to chronic conditions. With that in mind, this article will list down the common physical pains of working from home and how to fix them.
Back pain all starts with sitting posture. Poor posture causes muscle imbalance, which causes pain in various parts of your back. Our bodies aren’t designed to sit for more than eight hours. Simple actions such as slumping on the couch or leading forward to your computer can put a lot of stress on your low- and mid-back.
Taking regular breaks at work is very important whether you’re working from home or at the office. A great tip is to invest in a computer desk or stand that allows you to change positions between standing and sitting. You can also set up various workstations at home, such as the kitchen, living room, and garden. Having multiple workstations will encourage you to switch places instead of being locked in a single area all day.
For relief, consciously lengthen your spine to stop yourself from slumping. Stand up and move from your chair every 20 minutes and try walking around the house or garden to exercise your legs. A simple exercise is even more helpful.
Thrusting your chin or head towards the computer or hunching over your laptop causes extreme pressure on the shoulders and neck. It is also caused by a forward head carriage, also known as “text neck,” which refers to the excessive use of mobile devices. This also happens if you’re working from a sofa instead of a proper workstation.
Neck pain occurs from a muscle imbalance, where the forward angle of the neck puts pressure on your cervical imbalance, making it hard for the neck to maintain the position while holding the head.
If you’re unsure whether your chin follows the right position, stand up with the back against the wall. The back of your head, shoulders, buttocks, and heels should touch the wall. This position places the chin at the correct angle while keeping the head and spine in alignment.
Another technique is to perform chin tucks to exercise the neck muscles. Do these by following the right sitting posture with the chin parallel to the floor. Slowly move your chin backward without leaning your head. You’re doing it right if you feel a slight stretch on the back of the neck. Then move your head away from the neck while pulling upwards. Allow your jaw to relax while breathing deeply.
Typing on your keyboard or using the mouse throughout the day can lead to wrist pain or muscle tenderness. This can get even worse with carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that causes weakness, numbness, tingling, and pain in the wrist and hands. It happens when the motor and sensory nerve of the arm (median nerve) becomes compressed.
The median nerve controls the sensory and movement of all your fingers except the small one. Repeated movements or too much compression cause the median nerve to be narrow and inflamed, compressing the nerves and structures within.
Avoid this by doing hand exercises. You can search them online; they come with an instructional guide. You can also invest cushioned wrist supports and an ergonomic keyboard to keep your wrists in a more relaxed position while working.
While working from home comes with significant challenges, but it should never take a toll on our physical bodies. Sitting in front of the computer for over eight hours a day is not an excuse to lead a desk-bound lifestyle. There are plenty of resources and techniques to get our bodies moving without compromising work. Use them to your advantage, and your body will even thank you for it.