04 Jun Working from Home Increases Risk of Back Pain
In 2019, one in six American workers already worked from home—that number has since skyrocketed. Back pain is the most common ailment treated at Integrated Pain Consultants by Dr. Seth and his team, and in most cases treating back pain is a holistic effort that involves in-office treatments and at-home best practices. If you’re new to working from home and have been noticing new back aches and pains, you’re not alone. It’s likely that your former office had a better ergonomic setup than what you’ve created at home, but there are easy ways to adopt better ergonomics to decrease back pain.
Most office ergonomic furniture is big, bulky, and expensive. It’s no wonder most people don’t have it at home. However, if you don’t address this pain, it could ultimately result in a musculoskeletal injury including an aching back, sore shoulder and neck, carpal tunnel syndrome, and deep vein thrombosis. The goal when working at home (or anywhere) is to keep a neutral posture and to regularly get up and move to encourage circulation.
Tips to Reduce Back Pain
When looking at your computer screen, check your neck. It should be “straight” so you don’t have to look up or down. Avoid angling your screen, which can lead to cervical (neck) issues. Avoid causing a glare on your screen, which usually comes from working away from a window. Cover any glass surfaces you’re working on to prevent glare. Eye strain can be the starting point for aches you feel all over your body.
Make sure your keyboard (and mouse if you work with one) are at a neutral height. Raised laptops should be paired with a level keyboard and mouse so that your arms “rest” at a 90-degree angle close to your body. The nerves in the hand are connected to the wrist, shoulder, and neck, so it’s important that they don’t get compressed. Avoid squishy wrist wrests, which actually compress the tendons in the fingers and median nerve rather than providing support. Feet should rest flat, preferably on the floor but a stepstool can be useful to make this happen.
Finally, if you do have back pain (or any type of pain) it’s important to see a pain management specialist as soon as possible. We’ll work with you to find a regimen and treatments that work for you and your lifestyle. Call Integrated Pain Consultants at (480) 626-2552 to schedule a detailed evaluation today.