Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, have you recently found yourself working from home? Many of us suddenly went from having to commute across town to walking across our home to begin the workday. There are numerous advantages to working from home, like greater flexibility and, of course, being able to stay in your jammies all day.
But working from home can also take a toll on your back, especially if your office or workstation is not ergonomic. There are also other disadvantages including easy access to the refrigerator, limited access to the gym, and the added stress of dealing with a global pandemic.
Back Health Tips for Work at Home
Here are back and health at-home tips you can use to adjust your workspace, and your new work-from-home lifestyle, to help you keep back pain away.
You may not have access to your ergonomic chair while you’re working from home, but you can help protect your back by concentrating on how you sit. “When working from your sofa, ensure your knees are at a 90-degree vertical bend,” said Happiful Magazine. “You might need to rest your feet on something (a box or a cushion) to do this. To create better support for your lower back, roll up a towel, or use a small cushion and place it in the small of your back.”
Get Enough Light
“To minimize the chances of visual eye strain from glare or partial retinal adaptation, don’t work with your back to a window, as the light coming in will cause a glare on your screen, and don’t work facing a window, as you’ll be staring into the light,” said TIME magazine. “Unless the window has shades or drapes that can be closed, your screen should be perpendicular to the window. If you are working at a glass table, cover it to prevent reflected glare.”
Get Plenty of Sleep
Poor sleep habits can make lower back pain and neck pain worse, or even create them. “The inability to get a good night’s sleep hurts—literally,” said WebMD. “Chronic back pain prevents you from sleeping well. You can wake up hurting even more. What’s worse, studies have shown that not getting enough sleep may actually make you more sensitive to pain. It’s a vicious cycle. Back pain can make it harder to sleep—and when you can’t sleep, your back pain may be worse.”
You might not have thought about the relationship between food and your back health, however poor eating habits that lead to obesity can put pressure on your back and impact your health. There is also some research suggesting a connection between certain types of food and harmful back inflammation that can have a host of negative effects on the body, including your back.
“There’s some thought that an anti-inflammatory diet—one that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein such as fish and chicken, and healthy fats such as nuts and olive oil—may help tamp down inflammation in the body that can worsen chronic pain, including back pain,” said AARP. But eating this sort of healthy fare may also reduce your back pain simply because it can lead to weight loss.”
A strong core can keep you from developing or worsening back issues simply by improving your posture and creating a strong foundation. If you’re finding yourself at home more, it’s a perfect time to develop an exercise regime to strengthen back muscles.
Work stress doesn’t disappear just because you’re not in the office. In fact, many of us are dealing with additional pressures now, trying to juggle Zoom meetings and ever-changing expectations of school for our kids. Yoga is an excellent way to target that stress.
“If you’re dealing with back pain, yoga may be just what the doctor ordered. Yoga is a mind-body therapy that’s often recommended to treat not only back pain but the stress that accompanies it,” said Healthline. “The appropriate poses can relax and strengthen your body.”
Yes, there are a tremendous number of obvious health benefits involved in smoking cessation. Here’s one you may not have thought of: “Smoking is associated with an increased incidence of chronic pain, particularly back pain, according to research to date,” said U.S. News & World Report. “Research finds that lighting up is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis, lumbar disc diseases—or those that affect the lower back—as well as increased problems with bone healing. And studies show those who smoke who suffer spine pain or from other back problems that turn out to be short-term issues for some, tend to have a greater chance of going on to develop chronic pain as a result.”
Don’t Let Pain Progress
An occasional twinge or ache that can be handled easily with stretching or by popping a couple of Advil is one thing. Daily or constant pain requires a trip to the doctor. Not only do you not want to have to deal with the pain every day on top of all your other responsibilities but leaving your condition unchecked could also make it worse.
Keeping Your Back Healthy
If you’re ready to put an end to your pain or if you want more information about treatment options, contact The DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain. Today’s minimally invasive procedures include outpatient treatments and easier surgical treatments with small incisions and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.