Working from home can be good and bad for your back, depending on how you go about it. It does cut out some mobility (like walking down to the cafe for lunch or a short walk to or from public transport). But it also offers more freedom when it comes to your workstation and moving around without bothering anyone else. So, to help your back make the most of your new arrangements, here’s how to support your spine and prevent back pain when working from home.
Optimise your set-up
Use your newfound freedom over your workstation to your advantage and optimise your set-up.
- Get a monitor. An eye-level screen is much less likely to hunch you over than a desk-level laptop.
- Get a decent chair. You don’t necessarily need a perfectly ergonomic office chair, just something that fits your body and lets you lean against the backrest without curving your neck or lumbar too far.
- Get back support for your chair. If you don’t want to invest in an ergonomic office chair or the one you have does not quite fit right, a good back support cushion will help take some pressure off your lumbar.
- Get a keyboard and mouse. These office essentials will stop you from reaching your arms forward and pulling at your upper back. A mouse also has the additional benefit of wrist protection.
- Try a sit/stand desk.
Work on your posture
When sitting, bend your knees at 90 degrees and firmly plant your feet on the floor to take some weight off your lumbar. Tilt your pelvis slightly forward to get a good, natural arch going in your back.
Keep in mind it won’t be easy to retrain muscles used to slouching, but it’s necessary for a healthy spine. Having a back chair support can help nudge you in the right direction by preventing too much of a slouching curve.
Learn more: How Bad Posture Affects Your Health
Get a back brace
LumboTrain Back Brace
Try a back brace to improve your posture further and help retrain your muscles. The LumboTrain, for example, extends from the sacrum all across the lumbar. It incorporates compression knit fabric to boost blood flow and reduce muscle tension and fatigue (which can really stack up with long hours of sitting.) Compression knit will also communicate with your muscle fibres, reminding them to keep your spine properly aligned throughout your day.
Compression braces will NOT make your muscles reliant on them. Instead of doing all the work for your muscles, the LumboTrain will instead work WITH your muscles, helping them activate more efficiently and better support your spine.
To minimise the pressure on your lumbar and sacrum, try to get up and move around every 30 minutes or so. We know it can be difficult during a busy workday, but the break doesn’t have to be long. 1-2 minutes of stretching, walking around the room, or a quick set of squats will do a lot of good.
Fidget and migrate while working from home
A study from the Institute of Biomechanics notes that along with regular movement, spinal health can be preserved by varying your posture. So if you can’t take many breaks, make sure to give your muscles a little movement here and there. You can do so by switching positions and fidgeting when sitting (such as leaning forward on your elbows, leaning from side to side, or sitting cross-legged). You can also do so by migrating your workstation. For example, switch from your monitor to your laptop and stand at a bookshelf for 30-60 minutes of work. And if you have a sit/stand desk, use it well.
Do a back workout after work
After a long day of sitting, it’s a good idea to work out your back. The following exercises will help relieve some muscle tension and strengthen the core to support your spine better.
- Lay on your back on the floor.
- Bend your knees at around 90 degrees, with your feet both flat on the floor.
- Activate your glutes and abdomen and lift your hips up so your torso is in a straight, diagonal line from chest to knee.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds, then release
- Repeat 10-15 times
- Get on your hands and knees, preferably on a yoga or gym mat, to cushion your kneecaps.
- Lift your left arm and right leg without shifting your hips or torso to form a straight line with your back.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds, then release.
- Repeat for the opposite side.
- Do 10-15 reps per side.
- Lay on your stomach on the floor, preferably on a yoga or gym mat to cushion the ribs.
- Bend your elbows and bring them down to align with your ribs.
- While squeezing your shoulder blades together, lift your chest, head, and arms off the floor as high as you can.
- While lifted, straighten your arms and stretch them out before you and then move them back into the original position in a (sort of) reverse breaststroke.
- Lower yourself back down.
- Do 20 reps in 3 sets.
See more back exercises to try: 5 Steps to Treat Lower Back Pain from Deadlifts
To sum up
Working from home gat be great for preventing back pain. But you will still need to put in a bit of work to take full advantage. Optimise your workstation, work on your posture, brace, and take care to squeeze as much movement into your day as possible. With these steps, you can ensure your spine stays in good health.
If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466 or contact us via live chat.Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products. Check to see if yours is included. Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance Inquiry.