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How to Avoid Back Pain When Working From Home, According to a Chiropractor

chiropractor advice working from home

Workers across the globe have seen their usual working routine shift from the office to the home as a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although many of us will have a dedicated office space with a desk and comfortable chair, some workers may still be utilizing makeshift spaces, namely on their sofa, or even from their bed. Working like this can cause havoc on your back, shoulders and neck as you constantly sit in a hunched position.

If you’re starting to feel the strain in your body, you aren’t alone. We spoke with Dr Sandra Richer, a chiropractor, for some tips and tricks for working from home, and how to avoid any long-term damage when working remotely.

Setting up your home office

  • Make sure your chairs provide adequate support for backs and arms. Generally soft chairs and sofas feel great when you first sit down but the lack of support can lead to back pain
  • Invest in a backrest for your chair to provide necessary support for your back
  • Have a separate monitor and keyboard from your laptop, this can help reduce neck pain caused by looking down at a laptop all day

Tips to prevent damage

  • Take mini breaks regularly, move around or change your posture
  • Organize your workload to ensure you are doing different tasks and not staying in the same position for long periods of time
  • Ensure the mouse and telephone is in easy reach and alternate the side they are on. Even try a headset
  • If you have a free float or reclining mechanism on your chair, use it to change your position regularly
  • Try and stand when possible, e.g. when you are on the telephone

Exercises to prevent back pain and repetitive strain injury

  • Stand Up – Put the heel of your hands into your lower back. Draw your elbows back and down. Keeping your head and neck steady with chin tucked in, slowly arch your back and look to the ceiling.
  • Side to Side Turning – Rotate your head left then right, keeping your eyes on the horizon and aiming your chin at your shoulders. Repeat three times.
  • Chin Tuck – Sitting tall, imagine you are suspended from the crown by a piece of string. Keep your eyes level and tuck your chin in. Hold for five seconds and repeat three times.
  • Forward Press – Gently interlock your fingers with your palms facing away from you. Press your palms away from you stretching your forearms, fingers and muscles between shoulder blades. Hold for five seconds.
  • Shoulder Shrug – Keep your shoulders back and lift them towards your ears, breathing in slowly. Tighten your muscles in your shoulders and hold for five seconds. Repeat three times.
  • Elbow Flare – Put your hands behind your neck, loosely grasped. Keep your head and neck tall. Squeeze below the shoulder blades and take elbows back, taking care not to press on to the neck. Hold for five seconds.

Why good posture is important

Maintaining good posture is a key step in preventing back pain and, there are some simple things can do to improve your posture and help reduce the risk of back pain.

Straighten Up UK is a program designed by the British Chiropractic Association to improve posture and prevent back pain. The program is divided into three simple segments:

  1. Stars: Warm Up
  2. Flying Friends: Posture Care
  3. Core Balance: Finish the Session

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Written by Niamh Ollerton
Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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1 Comment

My daughter is working from home due to the current pandemic situation. She complains of back pain and I insisted her to check her posture during her work. I must share her the simple stretches listed above. Hope it helps her.Thanks for the post.