Many more people are now working from home due to changes influenced by Coronavirus pandemic. While homeworking was already popular, it was common for someone to work part of their time at home. Many people are now working at home full time.
The home environment is often not ideally set up for regular homeworking. There are often compromises in chairs and desk surfaces, peripherals such as screens, keyboard and mouse. Variable lighting can also place a strain on eyesight, and background noise on concentration and tension.
We often see patients with problems caused by poor working posture.
Examples of this are:
– Sitting on the floor, sofa or bed while using a laptop
– Not using an external screen for a laptop
– Using a keyboard or mouse in an uncomfortable position
– Looking to one side to view a computer screen
– Crossing legs, and wrapping feet behind chair legs
– Not taking breaks or changing position regularly
Problems often caused are:
– Neck, shoulder and lower back pain
– Repetitive strain in the wrist, elbow or upper arm
– Leg hip and buttock pain from poor sitting posture
These types of problems are often easily improved or resolved by simple changes in posture and habits.
What can you do?
Take regular breaks
5 min – For every five minutes of intense work, have a short pause. Stretch your hands, wrists and fingers. Roll your shoulders and rotate your neck
20 min – Give your eyes a break by looking into the distance for 20 seconds
30 min – Stand up, stretch and move for 20–30 seconds
120 min – Keep alert by doing gentle exercises every two hours
Improve your working environment
Below is an example of an ideal working environment. This is not always practical or possible, but it is useful to remember so you can adapt your environment towards the ideal where you can.
See our Facebook page for a series of stretches we have posted for home working.
Self management of pain or discomfort
– When does it happen?
– What are you doing at the time?
– What/where does it hurt?
– Can you relieve it?
Get professional advice if symptoms persist or you have a recurring musculoskeletal condition. We have osteopaths and physiotherapists who can help you manage and resolve musculoskeletal pain, stiffness or discomfort.