The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives completely. We are no longer able to socialize with everyone we know and care about. Restaurants, gyms, and spas are closed. And many people had to adapt to working from home. While this may seem a good and convenient idea for many, it also brings a unique set of problems connected with poor posture.
As any chiropractor can tell you, correct posture when you work on a computer or write at the desk is essential for a healthy body. The skeleton, muscles, and joints are tuned to support our weight in a balanced way. When an imbalance occurs, some parts of the body have to bear more stress and pressure than they are designed for. These issues result in stiff neck, lower back pain, numb fingers, and toes.
Cause of Bad Posture: Your Home Is Not Designed for Work
For chiropractors, the first step in solving a problem, be it chronic pain, vertigo, or migraine headaches, is to identify its root cause. In the case of poor posture issues stemming from working from home, the problem is in the location itself.
Homes are rarely designed for work. Some people have a home office where they do their taxes and other household accounting tasks. But most of us design and furnish our homes for comfort and relaxation. Soft beds and comfortable sofas, thick carpets, and colorful pouf armchairs – are all designed to help people feel comfortable while reclining or lying down. They are inadequate for working on a laptop or looking over files and taking notes.
These being said, here are some of the most frequent poor work from home posture problems (and a few solutions to them):
1. Sitting/Reclining on the Sofa to Work on the Laptop
The sofa is not designed for working on the computer. Its role is to help you relax while you recline on it and are not engaged in physical activities. When you take your laptop to the sofa, you are straining various muscle groups in order to balance the laptop, use the scroll pad, and type.
The solution is to create a workspace that consists of a desk and an ergonomic chair. Office chairs are specially designed to offer adequate support to your neck, shoulders, and back and help you maintain a neutral posture. A neutral posture is when no muscle or joint is unduly strained to support your body.
2. Hunching Over the Laptop
Prolonged hunching over the laptop causes a stiff neck and sore shoulders. In many cases, this happens when people wrongly believe that they will be more comfortable sitting up in bed and working on the laptop.
The best solution is to find a table where your laptop is sitting at a sufficient height to allow you to sit up straight on a chair and look straight ahead of you into the screen, not down.
3. Getting Finger Cramps from Typing
Constant typing and using the mouse are not recommended in any situations. The most affected part of the forearm and hand – the carpal tunnel – can get inflamed and lead to a painful condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. In the worst-case scenario, you have to take a break from work for several weeks until the condition improves.
To avoid this issue, use a detachable and wireless keyboard and mouse. Thus, you can arrange them in an ergonomic position that does not apply too much pressure on the carpal tunnel.
Good Practices for a Healthy Work from Home Routine
Finally, here are some helpful tips to prevent the onset of pain and stiffness associated with long hours working at the desk:
- Practice stretching in the morning and several times during the day
- Take breaks from working on the computer and do simple exercises to activate blood circulation
- Be mindful and listen to your body – when you feel in pain and uncomfortable, change your sitting position
- Stand up and walk around the house when you are taking phone calls.
Every little thing counts when it comes to learning how to keep a correct posture. Remember that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body, so do not ignore any kind of pain and stiffness you experience.