How to Look After Your Back When Working From Home

Take a look at how you’re sitting right now…which one of the pictures below sums it up best?!

I know which category I fit into unfortunately.  So here are a few facts to make us all sit up straight:

  • Most people get back pain at some point during their working life, most people recover quickly but, for the unlucky few, pain may bring acute suffering, loss of quality of life or disablement.
  • Around 5 million working days were are lost each year as a result of back pain.
  • This means that on any one day 1% of the working population are on sickness leave due to a back problem.

When you are employed, your employer is responsible for providing a safe work environment, but you the employee are responsible for following agreed health and safety procedures and keeping fit.  However if you run your own business or are self-employed it is you that becomes responsible for providing the safe working environment, as well as for keeping yourself fit.

So what can you do to prevent back pain if you are working from home?  Here are a few things to try:

  • Make sure PC is set up correctly: Ensure your monitor is at the correct height, which is so that the spot approx. 3 inches down from the top of it is at eye level (you may need to use your ingenuity to build a monitor stand!).  Make sure your keyboard is positioned so that the ‘B’ key is directly central in front of you.  Your mouse should be as close to the keyboard as possible so you are not having to stretch to reach it.

 

  • Set up your chair properly: if you haven’t got a proper office chair, they are well worth the investment – just think how much time you will spend sitting in it!  Once you’ve got it, make sure it is set at the right height (so elbows are bent at a 900 angle when typing), and that the back rest, lumbar support and arm rests are adjusted correctly.
  • Bed/Mattress: most of us spend at least half our lives asleep so the importance of a decent mattress is not to be underestimated!  Buying the right mattress is one of the best investments for our backs so it is vital to get it right. 
  • Keeping fit/healthy weight: being overweight and unfit are some of the top causes of back pain.  Just a 20 min walk every day can make all the difference to our backs.
  • Headset: if you are on the phone at your desk for much of the day it may be worth investing in a headset.  Cradling the phone with your head and neck is another major cause of backpain.
  • Stress: is unfortunately another cause of backpain.  Not all stress is avoidable of course but doing what you can to counteract and alleviate much of life’s day to day stresses can go a long way to preventing back pain.   Think long hot bath, a walk in the fresh air or a natter with a friend – they don’t cost much but can make the difference.
  • Posture: if you’re guilty of not having the posture of a ballerina then you are not alone!  But try to work on it when you can and be more aware.  If you’ve got one of those Swiss exercise balls try sitting on that instead of your office chair for a few hours a day – it’ll certainly remind you to sit up straight!

Preventing back pain can be possible with just a few simple things.  If you’ve ever had back pain you know that taking every step available to prevent it is well worth it!

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