Home working is causing increasing levels of neck and back pain
Our online remote physio service has seen a surge in the number of people presenting with back and neck pain during the Covid-19 lockdown. With so many people working and studying from home we are having to work in less than ideal conditions. If you can still go into the office, grab your office chair, keyboard, mouse and a computer monitor if your employer permits.
Here are some top tips, which will help you minimise the risk of back and neck pain:
1. Get your screen set up right
Make sure the top of the screen you use is at eye level. Raise it onto a flat top printer, books or a laptop holder so you aren’t slouching to read the screen. Try angling a lever-arch file or a chopping board on top of a book to create an angle for your laptop. Your computer screen should be an arm’s length away from you.
2. Protect your shoulders and wrists
Try to use a separate keyboard and mouse when using a laptop. Position your keyboard close enough to keep wrists relaxed and straight
3. Don’t slump on the sofa
Avoid at all costs slumping on the sofa especially with your legs up when using iPads and laptops. If you have to sit in the sofa to use your IT equipment, then place it on a cushion to raise it up so you don’t have to bend your head over to see it
4. Set up for sitting
If you don’t have access to an office chair, adapt a kitchen chair by adding a cushion for height. Roll a towel up to make a lumbar support and place this horizontally in the small of your low back.
5. Make a foot stool.
Supporting your feet helps you stay upright. Put your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-100-degree angle
6. Make a temporary footstool from a thick file sloping down towards you putting your heels on the ground. Great for kids whose feet don’t reach the floor. Try to keep the back of knees should be about three finger widths from the edge of the chair
7. Listen to your body
Aches and pain are not a signal that you have damaged your body. It is usually just the body’s way of telling you to move from the posture you are in and try another one.
8. Keep moving
Have activity breaks every half hour for 1-2 minutes to avoid tension building up. Set reminders on your phone. Walk around when on the phone and walk up and down the stairs.
9. Try standing for a while
Take your laptop to a higher worktop, ironing board or tall chest of drawers, and stand for a while.
10. Take some exercise
Diary a specific time to take your one hour of exercise outside where possible.