Working from home for the first time? Worried about headaches, neck or lower back pain?
Here are some tips for staying out of pain while working from home.
Setting up your desk:
- Screen: if you have one screen, ensure it is raised to your eye-line. You need to be able to sit with your head neutrally positioned, not looking down or up. If you have two screens, think about what you use them for. Do you use one far more than the other? Then have that one straight-on, and when possible alternate the position of the other (e.g. laptop) from the right to left side during the day. Move it every couple of hours, to ensure your head movement isn’t rotating just to one side all day. If you use both screens equally, place them symmetrically in front of you (one to the right of centre, one to the left of centre). Then to really ensure you’re moving your head as much as possible, still flick the content on the screens to the other screen a couple of times during the day.
- Phones/other stuff on the desk: if you look at your phone a lot, keep moving it around the desk. Don’t get caught looking at one spot on the desk day-in, day-out.
- Chair: have it at a height where your shoulders are not raised, your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and your wrists are not flexed up or down (keep them as flat as possible) when typing or using a mouse. The key is checking you don’t lift those shoulders towards your ears or slump over as you concentrate or get tired.
When working from home:
- Move around! Research shows that no matter how perfect your ergonomic set-up is, if you don’t move, over time your muscles will start to ache/spasm. So, at home, in the absence of sit-stand desks, here’s some tips:
- Use the kitchen bench for periodic laptop work.
- Walk around when taking a phone call.
- Switch between your desk, the kitchen table, sitting outside, even sitting on the couch. I know, it sounds wrong to be advocating couch time with your laptop, but – the key here is movement and positional change. 20 mins standing, an hour at your desk, half an hour at the kitchen table, 20 mins on the couch, an hour outside. See the variety? It keeps your body from having to take action to prevent injury or maladaptive consequences of sitting anywhere in once place for too long.
- Take breaks: Work timing is going to feel upended if you don’t usually work from home. So, set yourself standard work hours and breaks, and stick with them.
- Talk to people: isolation can be a challenge for many people and can be dangerous for mental health and wellbeing. Give your friends and family a call or organise face-time business meetings. Also, we are always here for a chat! As things slow down, we will miss seeing all our regular patients, so if you’re feeling in need of a debrief, or just need an ear, give Kath or Eve (Ewa) a call/text/email at any time.
- Get a remedial massage or myotherapy treatment from Mobilise! If you’re stuck at home, or still have some health insurance to use up, we are still here and open and working to ensure you’re as safe as possible when getting treated. We are following the directives of Qld Health and the Australian government closely. If the situation changes, we will let you know, but until then – if you’re well and in pain or in need of a treatment, we are still open.
- See Mobilise’s COVID – 19 and remedial massage policy here.
We are thinking of all our patients at this stressful time, and hope this blog helps you work from home a little easier! For any questions about this or any other musculoskeletal concern, give us a call at the clinic on 0473 090 442 or book online here.