Working From Home – Part 2: Back Pain

It has now been a year since many of us started working from home.  Something none of us could ever have predicted.

This shift of workplace has placed a huge impact on the ergonomics of the way we sit, day in, day out. One of the main impacts of working from home is where do we work from? Coffee tables, ironing boards, kitchen worktops have all been made into makeshift desks. Short term, this does not cause an issue. Long term, it is no wonder we are seeing an increase here at Mern Chiropractic of people looking to resolve lower back pain.

Many people who already had lower back issues are finding their symptoms increasing, others are feeling back issues for the first time. 

GEEK FACTS:

In the UK, it is reported almost half of all adults experience some form of low back pain issues. If you are one of these people, then the following advice may be of benefit.

Where Are You Working?

So, the odd hour laying in bed doing some work can feel good, even slouching on the sofa can feel a bit of luxury when comparing it to the office setting.  However, spending hours at a time in the same position is asking for trouble.  Spending time in these positions will eventually lead to poor posture resulting in neck or back issues, muscles aches and feeling stiff and restricted when moving. 

For some advice on home office stations check out our ‘Top Tips Blog’ regarding the best way for home office ergonomics.

Back pain through incorrect posture

How Is Your Posture?

I think we all know by now that poor posture will lead to aches and pains.  If you already suffer from back issues then having poor posture while working from home will only exacerbate your symptoms.

Poor posture is usually the result of bad habits.  Not just one, but a multiple of small daily habits. Correcting these habits take’s time and effort to adapt and improve. However, the first step is being aware of them.  Once you are aware, you are on the right path.  Small steps and new habits are the way to go.

Every so often stop what you are doing and look at how you are sitting.  Good or bad?  Set a reminder on your phone or a stick-it note as a reminder to check and adapt if needed.

Do not sit for long periods at a time.  Get up and move around.  Even just standing at your desk and doing some basic stretches will help your posture.  Aim for feeling both buttocks balanced when sitting, that way you are not sitting with a tilt. If you are using a standing desk, make sure you have your weight evenly distributed on both legs.

“But it feels uncomfortable” If you feel uncomfortable sitting or standing in the correct position, this means you have poor posture.  The weaker our muscles are and the poorer our posture is, the more comfortable we feel slouching and the more uncomfortable we feel sitting correctly.

Move around more to improve back pain

Move It, Move It

(hands up who sang the rest of the song)

Gone are the days when rest was recommended for backaches.  It has been well established that movement is best practice while it may seem counter-intuitive at first, one of the best ways to deal with back pain is to get moving. When you were working in the office, you probably had to get up and move around for all sorts of reasons such as, going to meetings or having a chat with a colleague. Now that all these things are happening via zoom etc., while you are stationary at home, you are probably not getting up and moving as much as you used to.

Try planning in breaks to your day where you get up and move around. These short breaks are useful not only for your body, but your concentration as well. If you need a task to complete, you could load the dishwasher or put the laundry on. It does not matter what you do so long as you get your body moving at regular intervals through the day.

Keep Your Back Strong

Keeping your back healthy and strong are key to reducing your back issues.  If you sit all day and do nothing to improve your low back strength, you then start to develop an ‘egg shell back’, fragile and easy to damage. By providing strength and stability to your back, it reduces your risk of injury.  If you are suffering from leg symptoms such as shooting pain, numbness or pins and needles, you may have disc and nerve issues and this is where Chiropractic care can help.

If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram them look out for our ‘coming soon’ specific back exercises.

Sometimes you need professional help to ease your back symptoms.  If you are suffering from back issues, then it is worth considering a visit to one of our 3 clinics. Dr Laura Nuttall DC at Mern Chiropractic is highly skilled and experienced in treating back pain of all varieties. 

You can contact us on 07469205041 or email [email protected]

Dr Laura Nuttall DC

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