Written by guest contributor, Dr. Brent Wells
Whether you work from home regularly or have been sequestered there due to the current health crisis, you’ll want to watch your back. Not literally, of course. That would surely give you neck pains, which is the last thing you need. The fact is that working from home can be tough on the back. Whether you’re sitting at a computer for several hours a day or performing childcare and those household tasks that never seem to end, you’ve got to take steps to prevent or eliminate back pain. This is why we’re happy to share work from home advice for moms with back pain!
We’ll go over the science behind back problems that plague moms the world over. Plus, you’ll discover tips to help you eliminate back pain and prevent it from happening again. The fact is, back problems are incredibly common and don’t usually require surgery or anything more than a few home remedies, exercises, and stretches.
You’ve got lots of things to do (moms always do!) and barely enough time to do them. The last thing you need is severe back pain that just won’t go away. Read on to discover how to work from home pain-free!
If you do work at a computer much of the day, it’s imperative that you have everything in the best possible position for preventing back pain. Here’s a little checklist that you can reference to make sure everything is in its right place.
Wrists and Forearms
Adjust your chair so that your wrists and forearms are parallel to the floor as you work. This can help you keep a good posture and prevent carpal tunnel.
The top of your screen should be at eye level. This keeps you from craning your neck down to look at the screen.
Keep your keyboard right in front of you. Don’t keep it at an angle to your body. It’s also a good idea to leave a place to rest your wrists between the keyboard and the edge of your desk.
Where not to Work
Avoid working anywhere you have to band awkwardly or maintain a poor posture. A couple of these places include:
-Anywhere you have to set your computer in your lap.
“Sit up straight!” A phrase you’ve probably heard more times than you can count. Poor posture creeps into our days, silent and unnoticed. Pretty soon, we realize that our spine looks like a question mark. How did that happen? We straighten up until it happens again. And again.
For a long time, we thought that sitting up straight, at a 90-degree angle to our thighs, was the way to go. However, new research suggests that there’s a better way: sitting slightly back. Instead of sitting at a 90-degree angle, the research suggests that leaning back at around 135-degrees takes pressure off the disks in the back. This allows them to stay in place, preventing eventual back pain.
So, the next time you sit down to work, keep your feet flat on the floor and adjust your chair so you can lean back instead of sitting ramrod straight. If your feet don’t touch the floor, put a book, box, or footrest underneath them so they’re level. You’ll also find that you’re less likely to slouch in this new and improved position. But, even sitting this way isn’t enough. Movement is key to preventing back pain.
Sitting Properly Helps, But it Isn’t Enough
No matter how well you’re sitting, it’s not going to be enough to keep back pain at bay forever. You’ve got to get up and move around every twenty to thirty minutes. Short frequent breaks are better than long, infrequent breaks. Set an alarm on your phone if you need to.
Not only will this help you prevent back pain, but it will keep your energy levels up and your focus intact. Below are a few stretches you can do during your short breaks.
When you get up to move around, try a couple of these stretches to help your back and body pain-free.
Stand up and place the heels of your hands in your low back.
Slowly open your chest, push your low back with your hands, and lean back.
Look at the ceiling and hold there for a few seconds.
Shoulder, Chest & Upper Back Stretch
Stand up and link your fingers together behind your head.
Pull your shoulder blades together and open your elbows wide.
Hold for a few seconds.
Hamstring Stretch – Good for preventing sciatica and tightness in the low back.
Stay seated with feet firmly on the floor.
Lean forward at the waist slowly until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings.
Continue to lean forward and hold the stretch as far and as long is comfortable (usually no more than 10 seconds).
Slowly lean back at the waist, returning to a sitting position.
There are plenty of things you can do at home to help eliminate back pain. While the steps above help prevent it, the suggestions below can help you deal with it if you already suffer from pain in the back.
There are several options on the market for pain ointments. Below are just a few.
Yoga is great for keeping your body in tune and your muscles active. Even ten minutes a day can help to prevent and relieve all different types of aches and pains. Luckily, there are plenty of expert yoga instructors on YouTube that offer free videos. You can easily find one that is designed to help your back pain. You can even take a break from your daily work to do a quick yoga session. You’re sure to feel much better afterward.
If you’re suffering from sore back muscles, have your partner give you a massage. It can work wonders for minor muscular back pain. However, if you think the problem runs deeper than the muscles, you may want to call in a professional masseuse to avoid any worsening of the pain. If the pain is bad enough, you may want to see a chiropractor before attempting any home remedy.
Chiropractors for Back Pain
A chiropractic adjustment can often eliminate back pain. A chiropractor can also advise you on exact steps to prevent that back pain from returning. Sometimes, no matter your best efforts, daily life gets your back out of alignment. This is common among sedentary workers and homemakers alike. If you experience intermittent or chronic back pain, your best bet is a chiropractor.
About Dr. Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using massage therapy, chiropractic care, and physical rehab therapy designed to help give long-lasting relief .
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe, Organic Facts, and Thrive Global. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.