The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything — right from the way we live to work. While there is no denying that the ‘work from home’ module has come as a respite for many who travelled for hours to reach office, but it has also led to loneliness, boredom, uncertainty along with lower back and spinal issues.
“Sitting continuously for long hours without getting up, along with poor sitting posture can lead to serious issues including back and neck pain,” said Dr Vivek Logani, chief of joint replacement and sports injury centre, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.
The orthopedic expert added that one can also experience excessive stress, which can also increase pain from ramped-up cortisol, tightness in muscles, shallow breathing, and decreased circulation throughout the body.
Here’s how one can improve the ergonomics of the home workplace; increase lower back strength, and reduce excruciating pain:
The essential 3Ps for choosing the right spot for work
Proper sitting posture is the key. Extended sitting hours change your back’s S curve into a C curve that causes more stress on your muscles, ligaments, tissues, and discs.
Your chair plays a pertinent role in maintaining the right curve of your back:
*Ears should be over your shoulder (not in front of your shoulders).
*Elbows by your sides with wrists comfortably resting on a round or soft surface. (Hand towels and wrist gel pads work well).
*Support your back on the chair using a small lumbar pillow or towel roll.
*Feet should be flat on the floor.
Put it close
Adjusting the height of your sea is equally crucial. It should be such that your eyes are lined up 3 inches below the top of the screen of your laptop or desktop. You also need to tilt the screen to 120 degrees. Screen should not be more than an arm’s length away. If you’re using a laptop then you should purchase a freestanding keyboard so that it allows you to raise your screen to the proper height without elevating your arms in order to type.
Avoid sitting for long when you’re working from home. Ensure that you’re taking a break and getting up every 40-45 minutes. Walk around your room as it’s not advisable to step out of the home. Moving helps to circulate the blood throughout the body. This further helps to reduce pain and stiffness. You can also do some stretching exercises:
*3 big shoulder circles moving forward and backward.
*3 neck rolls from neck to shoulder; roll forward along the chest to the other shoulder.
*2 large breaths to fill your lungs and then blowing air forcefully out.
*5 squats in front of your desk chair.
Exercises for strong backs
If you’re experiencing spinal issues because of long working hours, then exercise is a priority. There are many great and effective home workouts that you can do with basic household items. Other effective exercises for your back include:
*Bridges: It helps strengthen the core, which plays an important role in supporting the lower back and spine.
*Clamshells: It helps in strengthening the hips and stabilising pelvic muscles.
*Bird dogs: A bird dog is another great exercise to target ab muscles. All you need is a soft spot on the floor.