Working From Home: Tips and Tricks to Combat Pains and Strains

By: Dr. Sarah Rodriguez

Let’s face it: These past few months have been an incredibly challenging time for all of us as we learn to navigate our new “normal” in a time of heightened uncertainty and distress. More than ever, many of us are working from home to keep ourselves and each other safe, and there’s no telling if or when we’ll be able to return to our respective work environments any time soon. Unfortunately, the reality is that our new WFH situations are taking a massive toll on our bodies. Cramped workspaces, less-than-ideal ergonomics, long Zoom meetings on the couch, and endless hours slouched forward on the bed or kitchen counter are ultimately a recipe for disaster.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help combat pains and strains that come with working from home:

1. Get up and move!

Our bodies were not made to sit still. Whether we are sitting through a long meeting or focusing on a difficult assignment, it can be easy to remain in one position for an extended period of time. Instead, commit to standing up at least 2-3 times an hour to reset your body and restore your posture. Set a timer on your phone or write a reminder on a Post-It note that is easily within your line of sight.

2. Improve your ergonomics.

  • Invest in a good chair. The chair should have lumbar support, adjustable armrests, and a headrest.
  • Your computer screen should be directly in front of you and at eye level. Stack a few textbooks to elevate the screen if working with a desktop, or consider buying a portable keyboard if using a laptop.
  • Use wrist pads for your keyboard and mouse in order to keep your wrists in a neutral position.
  • Your feet should be planted firmly on the ground. Your feet provide a solid base of support and should not be dangling in the air.
  • 90-degree rule: Knees, hips, and elbows should be positioned at 90 degrees. Your armrests, chair height, and desk should be adjusted accordingly.

3. Be aware of your posture.

  • Sit up by lifting the crown of your head and straightening your back.
  • Tuck your chin in to lengthen the back of your neck.
  • Gently roll your shoulders back and draw your shoulder blades back and down.
  • Follow the 90-degree rule and keep feet flat on the floor.

4. Perform some simple stretches and exercises.

  1. Chin tucks
  2. Upper trapezius stretch
  3. Scapular retraction
  4. Seated thoracic extension over a chair
  5. Doorway pec stretch
  6. Wrist flexor/extensor stretch
  7. Seated piriformis stretch
  8. Seated hamstring stretch

If your aches and pains are persistent and you feel you need the help of a professional, we invite you to reach out to us. You can start by giving us a call or by filling out the form below.

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