Work-from-home is the new normal in several industries because of the ongoing pandemic. Even though this setup has several benefits, many WFH employees complain about back pain due to bad posture and prolonged sitting.
Low back pain (LBP) is just one of the health risks caused by many factors, including a WFH setup. While LBP is a common condition, the pain can go from mild to severe, which can cause significant discomfort—especially for everyday workers. This might also lead to permanent disabilities.
This article will tackle the symptoms, causes, and helpful tips to reduce lower back pain.
What Are the Symptoms of LBP?
- Involuntary muscle spasms
- Dull throbbing ache that travels to buttocks, feet, and legs
- Pain that makes it difficult to stand up straight or move around
- Lower back tightness (mainly in the pelvis and hips)
When you are experiencing symptoms that require immediate care, it is recommended that you consult a trusted healthcare provider for physiotherapy in Oshawa. These might include back pain after you fell or got an injury or back pains associated with bowel control problems, fever, or pain when you cough or pee.
What Are the Factors Causing Low Back Pain?
- Muscle strains
- Age (people who are 30 and above commonly experience lower back pains)
- Weight (especially those who are obese, as the excess weight puts extra pressure on joints and disks)
- Weakened abdominal muscle
- Lifestyle (you are sedentary, or you might have a job that requires heavy lifting and sudden bending)
- Structural problems (scoliosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, and others)
How Can I Prevent Low Back Pain While Working at Home?
To help you eliminate risks that might result from lower back pain, you must remember these tips we gathered for you:
1. Move around.
Being sedentary can be an issue when you work from home. In fact, 75% of industrialized countries have workers who tend to prolong their sitting posture. Poor posture plus prolonged sitting will negatively affect your joints and ligaments, leading to low back pains.
Have you ever heard the adage, “Motion is medicine”? Experts recommend that you move a lot by shifting positions, ideally every 20 to 30 minutes. Simple movements such as grabbing snacks from the kitchen counter or taking a brief house stroll during your breaks will be effective. You can stand up and move your hips lightly to avoid muscle tensions when taking calls.
Stay physically active by exercising daily. If you don’t want to leave your workstation, simple stretching can also significantly help, such as finger points, back stretches, and neck retractions.
2. Adjust your monitor, keyboard, and table.
Be sure that your monitor, keyboard, and table are at the appropriate height. This will reduce the frequency of bending and sudden forward motion. Position your monitor at eye level, ideally 50 to 100 cm away. This can also help you avoid eye strain and sore muscles.
You can purchase an adjustable office desk to alter its height based on your comfort requirements. You can also adjust it by ensuring that your elbow won’t suddenly hit the surface. As for your keyboard, the placement will depend on your table height. You can try typing to feel if it’s comfortable enough for you.
3. Strictly follow your everyday routine.
Your low back pain will reoccur when you don’t establish proper self-discipline. You can do several things to maintain your posture routine. You might opt for a to-do list or use post-it notes for short reminders that you can look at while you work. Use your reminders app on your phone to give you notifications such as “Sit upright,” “Arms forward,” or “Time to stretch.”
The correct posture routine should start from the bottom up. Rest your feet flat on the floor with even weight on your hips. Straighten your back. Relax your shoulders. Whenever you stand, bend your knees slightly to release your joints. Slowly tilt your head and roll your shoulders when you notice that you just spent a considerable amount of time on prolonged sitting.
You can automatically do everything else once you get used to this everyday posture. If you have a sharp memory and your body follows suit, you can even discard those notes you created.
4. Purchase an ergonomic chair.
The wrong office chair might also contribute to several health conditions, including low back pain. To enhance your safety and comfort, you can consider purchasing an ergonomic chair.
An ergonomic chair will not only provide you with a proper seating space where you can rest or sleep during your breaks. It is also a suitable seating option for full posture support with adjustable features. It reduces body pains in the softback area and hips pressure with proper seat depth. This also features other flexible buttons to adjust seat depth, back recline, and armrests.
5. Consult a trusted physiotherapist near you.
When you think that you are experiencing severe back or neck pain, you can book an appointment with your primary care doctor or a reliable Guelph Physio clinic. Healthcare providers will direct you to more specialized care. Tools like mobilization, manipulation, soft tissue therapy, patient education, ultrasound, and rehabilitation will be administered to you if needed.
Importance of a Good Posture
Good posture is essential when working at home. It ensures your joints and ligaments are correctly aligned and functioning as nature intended.
In addition, a proper posture can reduce headaches, increase your energy level, and eliminate hip and back pains. When you feel well, you will function properly. And when you function properly, you deliver outstanding work output, creating a balance between your life (your physical and emotional well-being) and your work. Start your low-back-pain-free workday today and optimize your work-from-home experience!