Working at Home: 3 Tips From the Best Chiropractor in Oak Lawn
With recent lockdowns and quarantines, more people are working from home than ever—and trading their ergonomic office setups for simple laptops and kitchen chairs.
Unfortunately, that means many people are dealing with new or worsening back and neck pain as a result.
If you’re trying to avoid painful neck and backaches, we’re here to help. Here’s our guide to working at home, straight from the best chiropractor in Oak Lawn.
1. Invest in Ergonomic Solutions
If you’re sitting at a desk for 40 or more hours a week, it’s time to upgrade your workstation to ensure that it won’t contribute to long-term back pain.
You probably already know that bad posture can cause pain if you aren’t careful, but many people still fail to take the right steps to prevent issues on the front end. Starting with an ergonomic workstation provides a good foundation, making it easier to keep the proper alignment in your hips, spine, shoulders, and neck—often without even thinking about it!
Your Desk Chair
Let’s start with the height of your chair. You’ll need to be able to rest your feet flat on the floor, rather than letting them dangle. If your chair needs to be higher to see your monitor or use your desk, however, you can always opt for an elevated footrest for proper alignment.
The ideal desk chair should also have some sort of lumbar support for your lower back. If not, an easy fix is to use a rolled-up towel or a lumbar support cushion, which you can find online.
Armrests are helpful in keeping some of the strain out of your shoulders, but it’s important to make sure that they allow for a 90-degree bend of the elbows.
If you have neck or shoulder pain after a long day at work, it’s probably because you’re craning your neck to better see your computer screen.
Make sure that your monitor is positioned so that the top of the screen is about level with your eyes. Though it can be a comfortable change in position to lean back in your chair, make sure you’re always close enough to your monitor to avoid squinting or craning your neck closer.
2. Pay Attention to Posture
With an ergonomic desk setup, you’re much more likely to keep good posture throughout the day—but it’s not a guarantee! You’ll still want to pay attention to how you’re sitting in order to improve your spinal health.
Even the best ergonomic chair can’t keep us from willfully slouching. This poor posture can strain your muscles over time and contribute to ongoing lower back pain.
Sit with your hips far back into your chair, with your back against the back of the chair to preserve good spine form. Your shoulders, head, and neck should be relaxed.
If you find yourself spending hours on the phone, consider opting for a headset instead. This can keep you from cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder as you work, contributing to neck and shoulder pain.
Change Your Posture
Some types of back pain can occur when the spine stays in the same position over a long period. As a result, the jelly-like discs between the vertebrae come under consistent pressure, which can lead to painful wear and tear or even rupturing (or herniation).
One way to help soothe existing pain and prevent future pain is to change your posture. If you must work continuously for a long period, find comfortable positions from which to do so.
For example, if you have access to a standing desk, spend some of your day standing to change the pressure on your spine. For short periods, you might even consider sitting on the floor with a laptop. Whatever you do, don’t assume one position and keep it all day!
3. Take Frequent Breaks
You’ve heard this tip before, but it’s easy to get caught up in your work and forget. However, from a chiropractor’s standpoint, this is also one of the easiest ways to soothe and prevent back and neck pain.
You should take breaks at least once every hour. In addition, if you’re going to follow this tip, you may as well add in a few extra techniques to help your back health during your break.
Stretch and Strengthen Your Back
Stretching is a great way to improve the flexibility of your back, and to relieve minor pain. Even a few simple neck, shoulder, and lower back exercises over a ten-minute break can help increase mobility and ease pain.
Strengthening exercises are great as well, though you’ll want to pay attention to both your back and your ab muscles. Though it may not seem like it, your core plays a huge role in your ability to maintain good posture for your spine, so ab exercises are a must in any regimen.
For both stretching and strengthening, however, it’s important never to force your body into any position or action that causes pain. If you’re afraid of causing damage with a routine, our Oak Lawn chiropractic clinic will be happy to help you find exercises that work for your specific back issues.
Go for a Walk
Many studies have shown that, even if you’re experiencing back pain at the moment, walking can help. Adults who walk more often are less likely to experience low back pain, as walking increases blood flow, strengthens the muscles of the spine, and even increases back flexibility.
Whenever you can, go for a short walk around the block—even multiple times a day—to break up your long periods of sitting.
Get Personal Tips from the Best Chiropractor in Oak Lawn
These tips will be a great help to most people who are new to remote work, but it’s always a good idea to have personalized recommendations. If you’re looking for a chiropractor in Oak Lawn, we invite you to visit our office. Schedule an appointment today, and let us help you work out a plan to take your first steps on your health and wellness journey.