The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has caused many Americans to begin working from home. As we transition into another week of this, you may have noticed some new aches and pains. Your chosen workspace could be causing neck strain, headaches, shoulder and back pain if not set up properly. Consider the following Dos and Don’ts the next time you sit down to work.
DON’T: Sit on your couch to work. A soft couch influences a slumped posture that results in stress on your spine.
DO: Sit in a chair with a back at a table. This will allow you to have a better posture by positioning your hips in the back of the chair and aligned under your shoulders. This position provides support to your upper and lower back. Sitting in a chair also allows you to maintain good head position to protect your neck.
DON’T: Work with your laptop in your lap. Having your computer in your lap causes you to have to look down at the screen placing your neck into greater flexion causing strain on your neck muscles. This could eventually lead to neck pain and headaches.
DO: Place your laptop on a tabletop. When sitting with a good posture your line of sight to the computer screen should be approximately 20 degrees. The best solution is connecting your laptop to a monitor and separate keyboard.
DON’T: Sit with your legs crossed.
DO: Sit with both feet flat on the ground, knees and hips both bent to approximately 90 deg. This position will minimize pressure points on your hips and legs, potentially decreasing numbness and stress on your low back.
DON’T: Sit far away from your computer or table surface. Being too far away causes you to have to stretch out for the keyboard. This not only affects your posture but stresses your muscles in your neck and arms.
DO: Sit so you can keep your arms close allowing your elbows to be bent around 90 degrees. This will minimize the strain on your neck and arms.
DON’T: Sit for hours at a time.
DO: Take intermittent breaks to walk around or stretch. Consider making a standing workstation so you can alternate sitting and standing while you work. This will minimize joint stiffness and muscle tightness that could lead to other aches and pains in the future.