Many people work at home in conditions that cause back pain. With these expert tips you can prevent problems.
Working in the home office can not only be psychologically stressful, but also pose a challenge to the body: Many people sit in improvised workplaces, for example at the kitchen table or even on the sofa.
In addition, many exercise routines are eliminated at home: if you eat, sleep and work in the same place, you only cover short distances. There is no way to and from the office, and there is no need to move around between meetings or lunch with colleagues.
More back problems from working from home
And even if you have managed to set up a workplace at home away from the sofa, it is often not ergonomic. You can tell whether a table is too high or too low by your own posture: so that your shoulders relax, your arms should rest on the table at a right angle as possible. Otherwise you sit hunched over, your neck and shoulders tense – and pain occurs.
The chiropractor Dr. Lyana Nepia noted. She says, “There has been a massive increase in back problems in the past few months because most people suddenly start working at makeshift desks at home.” In the end she had to repeatedly explain the importance of good posture.
The screen should be at eye level
How do you achieve a healthy posture at home? “First, check the height of your screen or monitor,” advises the chiropractor. It is important that this person is at eye level so that you can keep your head upright. (Similar Topic: Digital eye exhaustion: This helps with tired and stressed eyes)
“Your head weighs as much as a bowling ball,” says the expert. If it is not optimally aligned, but tilted forwards or backwards, this affects the entire body. “The joints and muscles of the spine are stressed and the jaw is blocked.”
Bad posture has many effects
As a result, nerves in the spine become irritated, which can cause back pain and headaches. “Bad posture can also lead to more subtle changes, such as a drop in energy levels and focus,” says Nepia.
Anyone who already suffers from neck and back pain should do exercises regularly throughout the day. “This includes not only stretching, but also dynamic, mobilizing exercises that create movement between the individual vertebrae,” advises the expert. Cat-cow exercises from yoga or hip circles are suitable for this.
Preventing pain through good posture
If you already suffer from pain, it is better to consult a registered chiropractor or osteopath who will examine the spine or see a doctor. The best thing, however, is not to wait for the pain to develop, but to take care of your spine every day.
It is best to check again and again whether you are sitting or standing upright: You should stand or sit in such a way that your chin is tilted slightly downwards and pulled backwards, so that you yourself have the feeling that you are doing a double chin. You should also pull your shoulder blades back and down – as if you wanted to put them in your back pocket.
Imagination helps: a string pulls at the back of the head
When standing, you should also make sure that the tailbone is pulled down slightly so that you do not get into the hollow back. “It helps if you imagine that there is a piece of string tied to the back of your head and someone is pulling the string towards the ceiling,” says Nepia.
This also applies to sitting. “It’s also best here to lean back slightly instead of sitting completely upright,” says the expert. “This has been shown to be the least stress on the intervertebral discs in MRI scans.”
Dynamic posture by working while standing
In any case, it’s best to keep changing your posture. “You can have the best chair in the world, but you end up not moving for hours,” says Nepia. “That’s why a standing desk is so much healthier: you change positions automatically during the day.”
Some manufacturers have therefore recently developed mobile solutions for standing desks. Among them is Harmoni . Founder and CEO Nathan Hornstein himself worked for many years in tech companies such as Myprotein or The Hut Group in England. “Often the equipment was not good there,” he says. “I also know that from co-working spaces.”
If you have poor equipment, your motivation suffers
The founder has also made the experience that only a few people find optimal conditions in the home office in order to be able to work healthily. “The result is poor posture, which often leads to back pain and headaches, right up to long-term damage such as cardiovascular diseases.”
And motivation also suffers: “If I have the feeling that I cannot work at home and at the end of the day I am plagued by back pain, work is less fun, of course,” says Hornstein. His company has therefore developed a mobile solution, i.e. a standing desk that can be set up and dismantled in a few simple steps. The aim is to motivate people to work while standing.
Sitting for long periods is unfavorable
Working while standing makes sense because the body is anatomically not designed for long periods of sitting. It is not only important to move the joints, long periods of sitting are also fatal for the circulatory system: it puts the metabolism and the cardiovascular system on the back burner and reduces calorie consumption. As a result, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and even diabetes. Sitting for long periods of time can also put strain on the leg veins and blood vessels, increasing the risk of thrombosis.
Anyone who cannot or does not want to work standing up at home should therefore get up regularly and move around briefly – at least once an hour. It makes sense to set a reminder if you otherwise work past this point in time.
More tips to keep fit in lockdown at home:
1. Go for a walk during your lunch break. Motivation increases when you set up a step challenge with colleagues.
2. Drink at least two liters of water a day and, above all, make sure that coffee is not the only liquid that you put into your body. It can help to set a timer here, but there are also a number of apps that remind you to drink and with which you can record the amount of drink.
3. Invest in a good daylight lamp to stay awake and increase serotonin levels.
4. Ventilate regularly to combat fatigue and get adequate oxygen. The room temperature should also not be more than 22 degrees Celsius.