Healthy Living

Good Posture May Ease Some of Those Aches and Pains

If your job requires that you sit for prolonged periods working on a computer, you know how maintaining that position can do a number on your back, neck, wrists and more.

And if you are working from home, as so many of us are nowadays, these aches and pains could be more intense if you work at a makeshift desk (read: kitchen counters, couches).

The back comprises a complex network of discs, joints, muscles and nerves. Sitting with poor posture can place an undue amount of stress on this system, or can cause the pressure on your spine to disperse unevenly. 

As our weeks working from home have turned into months, you might notice more body pains than usual. Lying in bed or on the couch all day with your laptop on your knees might be one cause. Although it's tempting to take advantage of our home comforts, it's important to treat our body well and break some of the bad habits we may have developed while working at home.

If you want some easy solutions to prevent and relieve pain, read on.

Good posture

Maintaining good posture is key when trying to minimize back pain from sitting all day. That’s why there are desk chairs specifically designed to prevent back pain. Some of the higher-end versions can cost more than $1,000, but there are some wallet-friendly options.

If you can’t afford an expensive ergonomically designed chair, any comfortable one will do. Be sure to adjust the height so your feet rest flat on the floor, and try to sit up straight. A small pillow behind your lower back could help with discomfort.

You could also try out a posture trainer. The device gently buzzes to remind you to sit up straight when it senses you’re slouching. You can stick the device to your back with adhesive strips or wear the posture trainer on a backward-facing necklace so it rests flat against your back.

Don't forget to get up and move around, too. In the office, this may have come naturally as you chatted with colleagues, went for coffee or lunch breaks, and so on. At home, it is easy to lose track of time and suddenly realize you haven't gotten up from your chair for hours.

Monitors and screens

Folks should also be sure to properly adjust their monitors, keyboards and mouses for good posture. Your eyes should be level with the top line of the screen.

If your eyes begin to feel strained, you can reduce the screen’s brightness so it’s not so hard on the eyes. Adequate lighting in your workspace can also help minimize eye strain while looking at a screen all day. 

Repetitive stress injuries

If you experience wrist or hand pain – or numbness, you might consider purchasing an ergonomic keyboard, mouse and mouse pad to relieve stress on your wrists. It’s a fairly small investment that could dramatically improve your symptoms. There are also easy wrist exercises that can help reduce wrist pain. However, if the pain or numbness continues, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis as you may need to wear a splint, have physical therapy or even surgery.

Of course, no pain remedy is cheaper than taking a break to stretch or go for a walk. Many health professionals recommend you get up at least every half hour, even if it’s just to stretch or walk around the house.

Ultimately, improving your ergonomics can help prevent the musculoskeletal system from being negatively affected by repeated movements or awkward positions – and help you enjoy working at home.

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