Tips On How To Avoid Back Pain & Postural Problems While Working From Home

Debbie Slater, Massage Therapy

Many of the female entrepreneurs and businesswomen I attend Athena meetings with already working from home. However, it occurred to me that with other associated changes in daily routines, there is an opportunity for muscular aches and pains to sneak in.

Even with the desk correct desk setup, you may find your posture is affected by finding yourself slouching. Working from home faces many challenges so avoiding back pain and postural problems are important.

Avoiding back pain and postural problems

Attending multiple Zoom meetings or spending longer on the phone than usual can cause aches and strains on our bodies. I recently wrote a blog and found myself not practicing what I preached by sunbathing in the garden with my laptop balanced on my lap (I don’t mind admitting this as I am sure there are others of you out there who have done this!).

Sometimes we need to think outside the box, if our dining room tables are not the correct height consider using books or towels to sit on or even put your laptop on. I saw a brilliant photo on social media recently of someone using an ironing board to create a standing desk.

A good posture when sitting at your workstation is key. Here are my top tips for sitting comfortably at a desk:

  • Remember: feet on the floor, use a footrest if possible
  • Forearms should be approximately horizontal and your eyes at the same height as the top of the screen
  • Make sure there is space under the desk to move legs
  • Make sure your lower back is supported
  • Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips: use a footrest if necessary

There are other really important points to consider when working from home. It is important not to get lost in your laptop or computer screen and stare at it for too long. Screen breaks give us opportunities to hydrate, rest our eyes, and above all stretch. Don’t wait for those little niggles to start, you should have a walk or stretch before they do before they become problematic.

Other habits that are easy to sneak into are:

Leaning on your elbows: this can cause problems such as olecranon bursitis (or student’s elbow) as well as crick necks and rounded shoulders.

Cradling your phone: Again, this can cause cricked necks. Turn your phone onto a loudspeaker if possible or use headphones.  Of course, it is also tempting to send ‘just one more email’ on our smartphones – this is what causes that nagging pain in our thumbs and if continues can turn into more severe tendonitis.

We have a wonderful opportunity to work differently at this challenging time, I am currently enjoying attending networking meetings in my slippers or bare feet and must admit my bottom half was in my Pyjamas one day! Just make sure you all look after yourselves at the same time!

This post was contributed by Debbie Slater, Massage Therapy and member of the Barnes group.