Top Tips for Working From Home Pain Free
The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted many aspects of our lives, including how and where we work. With more and more people working from home, sometimes in makeshift office spaces and a high percentage of the population suffering from back pain, it is important to have tips ready for patients seeking advice on how to work from home pain-free.
Embodia has a free 24-minute course by Dr. Jonas Eyford entitled “Work from Home Ergonomics”, which is a great resource for anyone working from home, and especially for patients who are new to this work environment. As an added bonus, if you are an Embodia subscriber, your patients can access it too. Like all Embodia courses, the content is divided up into short, digestible sections to allow you, and your patients, to learn on your own schedule.
In this short course, Dr. Jonas Eyford goes through a variety of practical recommendations for the at-home worker, including ideas around posture and movement, how to cycle through different workstations, tips for better sitting and standing, and how to make the most productive use of your energy and your time. Here are a few highlights from the course to get you started:
- Minimize bend in the wrist
- Position the computer near eye level
- Keep feet flat on the floor
- Maintain relaxed shoulders
- Use lumbar support for the low back
While these tips can be helpful, recent research suggests that “proper posture” may, in fact, be contributing to an individual's back pain.
This is because the human body thrives on movement and is poorly equipped to maintain any single position for an extended period of time. What guidelines then, should we be offering our patients? Below are some key tips for setting up a more dynamic work environment:
- Cycle through positions - Choose at least 3 different workspaces and allow your body to shift frequently to help vary the areas of your body that are being strained. You can set an alarm to go off every 20-40 minutes to remind you to change positions.
- Unstable surfaces - Allows for micro-movements as you work which engages various muscles and better distributes strain and tension across your body. This can be as simple as sitting or standing on a pillow, or you can purchase active sitting chairs or balance/wobble boards.
- Frequent and deliberate breaks - The human brain can focus well for about 40 minutes at a time. Breaks should be scheduled with this in mind, and deliberately used for rest, exercise, or social interaction. Taking breaks will lead to better productivity and mood.
- 3 Pillow Rule - Most positions can be improved by simply adding three pillows: one for low-back support, one for neck support, and one beneath your computer to raise your screen closer to eye level.
If you’ve found this video interesting and have more questions, we invite you to start by checking out our course, Work From Home Ergonomics with Jonas Eyford by following the link below:
There are many tools available to help create a more dynamic workstation. Your patients may choose to invest in any of the following:
- Sit-Stand desk
- Wobble board/balance board
- Foam roller and/or tennis ball
- Active sitting chair/stool
- Posture pillows
- Resistance bands
- Wireless keyboard or mouse
If you or your clinic is an Embodia subscriber, you can use the Embodia exercise library to send your patients the following video exercises and help them on their pain-free work-from-home journey!
How to Treat Areas of Tension:
- Upper Back:
Lay flat on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, then place massage balls on either side of the base of your neck, take deep breaths as you sink into the balls, paying attention to tender areas.
These exercises come from Embodia’s growing exercise library (1200+ exercises and counting!) that you can draw on to create individualized and engaging home exercise programs for your patients. Each exercise has video instructions as well as a print-out copy to accommodate your patient’s preference. To access this tool for your patients, subscribe to Embodia today!
About The Instructor
Dr. Jonas Eyford
President at Recharge Wellness
I work with companies that demonstrably value employee experience to plug in our refined onsite wellness system. Our Recharge Wellness Stations bring specially trained chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists to your office and run all services through benefits coverage to keep it free for staff and for the host companies.
Our Recharge Wellness Stations are helping to make working in an office healthier and more productive. As far as corporate wellness solutions go, Recharge brings a tangible demonstration of care to groups without cost.
Blog Writers: Debra Posluns, MScPT Student, and Linnea Thacker, MScPT Student