Working from home has become very popular in the Covid-19 world. Even as it seems that the virus is on the decline and life is starting to return to “normal”, some people still prefer working from home. Some companies are noticing that their employees are just as productive while working from home and have chosen to keep them home rather than returning to the office. Rochester chiropractors have been seeing some very common problems in their patients who work from home. Let’s talk about some of the struggles people face while working from home and how your Rochester chiropractor can help alleviate them.
Neck And Shoulder Aches
A major problem that plagues people who work at a desk in general is poor posture while sitting. It is very common to slouch and hunch over your computer or other devices while sitting. Hunching over and slouching means that your head and shoulders are now protruding forward instead of being in their optimal positions - if this position is held for long periods of time (such as an 8 hour shift a day for 40 hours a week), the neck and shoulders tend to become painful.
Over time, this can lead to upper crossed syndrome, which is characterized by tightness of the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and chest. The tightness of the muscles in these areas can cause neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and even tingling into the arms and hands!
Solving these issues can be as simple as fixing your posture; sit up straight at your desk and make sure that you aren’t slouching over your devices. In the meantime, stretching your neck and shoulders will help alleviate the pressure to help you maintain proper posture.
Lower Back Pain
A big difference between working from home and working in the office may be the seating that you have available to you. While at the office you may have an ergonomic chair fit to you, at home you may be working from the couch or the kitchen table. When you are forced to sit in an uncomfortable seat without proper lumbar support for several hours at a time, your back will pay the price.
The other factor to working from home is that you are moving around much less frequently than when you are in the office. Traveling to and from work, walking to the break room, and leaving for lunch are all examples of times where you aren’t sitting at the desk. At home, the bathroom and refrigerator are all right there and require much less movement to get to. Due to this, you may be getting much less time on your feet and away from the computer.
Something as simple as a pillow on the small of your back or a lumbar support for the back of your chair can help you sit up straighter and prevent excessive bending of the lower back. Raising up your computer or laptop so that it’s more at eye level will also allow you to sit taller.
Mental Health Implications
An issue that isn’t talked about as much as aches and pains in the spine is going to be your mental health while working from home. It’s easy to lose sight of your boundaries while you work from the comfort of your own home. When you work at the office it’s easy to break for lunch and be away from your work responsibilities. At the end of the day it’s easy to clock out to commute home and be done working for the day - there is a clear delineation between where work is and where home is.
When you’re working from home, the line between work and home can quickly become nonexistent. You may be working in the same place you relax in - whether it be the living room, the dining room, or the bedroom. This can make it hard to form a boundary between your work life and home life which can wreak havoc on your mental health. This can be characterized by working longer hours than you’re scheduled, never taking an actual lunch break, continuing to work on your projects outside of work hours, and many more behaviors.
One way to combat this is to set alarms - make sure you are taking those much needed breaks to let your brain turn off from work mode. Make sure you take your lunches and eat them in an area away from your workstation. Set an alarm for when your shift is over - turn your computer off when you are clocking out so you can’t easily hop back into the project.
Working from home may become more and more popular as companies realize that their employees are just as productive. It is important to realize that your mental health is just as important as your physical health! If you are having mental health struggles then don’t hesitate to seek out help! Good therapists are much easier to find, whether in person or virtually, and can give you the guidance you need. If you are suffering from neck, shoulder and back pain, Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, your chiropractor in Rochester, can provide the treatment you need to get your posture and ergonomics corrected so that you can work from home in comfort! Schedule an appointment today to give your back the relief it deserves.