According to the US Census Bureau and The Bureau of Labor Statistics, even before the COVID-19 pandemic 4.7 million Americans worked from home, which is about 3.4% of the US workforce. Of course, that has only increased since the historic mandatory quarantines. Although many people have returned to commuting, plenty of others have found increased amounts of their job being able to be performed remotely. Remote work typically means seated computer usage, which lends itself to a host of common painful dysfunctions. Let’s examine a few of these problems and discover solutions to them.
Watch out for Weight Gain
If you consume significantly more calories than you expend through physical activity you will gain extra fat. Working from home can easily contribute to a more sedentary lifestyle that may lead to obesity. We’ve gone over some home-based exercises before, but for a more complete fitness assessment and routine personalized just for you, schedule a consultation with one of our Physical Therapists. They have the specialized training and experience to tailor-fit you with a safe and productive health-optimizing regimen.
Rest your eyes
Headaches are all too common with people who spend a lot of time working on a computer. Head pain deriving from eye strain may be alleviated by utilizing the 20-20-20 rule. What this means is to give your eyes a much needed rest by taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes by gazing at an object that’s at least 20 feet away. This allows your eyes some much needed rest to minimize the tension that contributes to headaches. Installing an anti-glare screen and decreasing the brightness and contrast and increasing the text size on your monitor can also make it easier on your eyes and consequently your head. The flicker associated with older technology monitors is also associated with light sensitivity induced vertigo, so consider upgrading to a new LED model.
Build an Ergo-friendly Workspace
Perhaps your seating arrangement is contributing to pain. Prolonged sitting in an ergonomically inefficient set-up exacerbates dysfunction, so let’s look at improving our seating arrangement. Some tips to improve your seated posture while using a computer are:
- Sit at an adjustable desk designed for computer use.
- Ensure the monitor is at eye level or slightly lower.
- Have your keyboard at a height that allows your elbows to comfortably rest at your sides. If your forearms are approximately parallel with the floor and level with the keyboard you know you have a workable position.
- Use an ergonomically designed chair that allows your feet to rest flat on the floor. Otherwise, use a footstool.
Take a break…and stretch!
Plan on taking a 5-10 minute break every hour to engage in a few light stretches. These stretches can be done while seated at your desk or standing next to it. Let’s go over some simple ones here:
- Separate and straighten your fingers until tension of a stretch is felt. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and bend your fingers at the knuckles and hold for another 10 seconds.
- Raise the top of your shoulders toward your ears until you feel slight tension in your neck and shoulders. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then relax your shoulders downward into their normal position.
- Turn your chin toward one shoulder to create a stretch on the other side of your neck. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then repeat the other direction.
Call us for more help
Many underlying pain issues can be rectified through the guidance of our Physical Therapists. They can help stabilize and strengthen your neck, back, and shoulders so you can work more efficiently without the distraction of annoying pain. The tips offered in this article are only an entry level introduction to learning how to work without pain from home. For a plan that’s geared directly to you, call us at (941) 264-1414 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation for a drug and surgery-free solution to your pain. Our clinic is conveniently located in Bradenton and is easily reached from all parts of Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Find out how we can help you today!