Because the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that most Americans report to work or school, it’s important that we consider ergonomics and our health as a result of this change. Most of us were not prepared for the changes we had to make, and in turn, we did the best we could with our home office setups.
Unfortunately, the effect that impromptu work-at-home setups have on spinal health can be quite negative. Sitting in uncomfortable chairs, leaning over short coffee tables, laying in bed, and working in confined spaces can be detrimental to overall health.
For example, sitting for long periods of time, regardless of the setup’s comfort level, places stress and pressure on the spine. This leads to increased back pain and neck pain, which make it difficult to work and even more difficult to get exercise.
In addition to working in an uncomfortable environment, not getting enough sunlight or exercise, and eating more often, back pain and neck pain can be further compounded with weight gain.
Obesity paired with lack of exercise, lack of sunshine, and painful musculoskeletal conditions work against the body’s immune response. This in turn can make it much easier to become sick, and potentially die if exposed to the COVID-19 virus. In fact, a study posted in The Times UK stated that thousands of COVID-19 deaths were brought on due to patient obesity.
With these concerns in mind, it’s important for Americans to adjust their health needs along with their new working environments. To make the most out of home-working environments, it’s a good idea to take the following steps:
Purchase ergonomically-designed office furniture and follow ergonomic guidelines in order to maintain good posture while working.
Move computer monitors away from windows and increase font sizes in documents. With this, you can avoid having to lean forward to see your screen and reduce eye strain at the same time.
Keep your wrists straight and try to move your monitor to a position that allows your neck to remain straight.
Take breaks every 30 minutes to stretch and walk around.
Get regular exercise, even if you have to do so at home. Remember to drink plenty of water as well.
Take part in a wellness program and attend regular chiropractic appointments to ensure that your neck, spine, and extremities are properly aligned.
At the Charleston Pain Relief Center, Dr. Angela Tharnish and her team can help individuals working from home do so in the healthiest ways possible. By regularly adjusting the spine, providing nutritional counseling, ergonomic recommendations, and exercise tips, people working from home can improve their health at the same time they improve their productivity.