Ways to Prevent Injury While Working from Home: Ergonomic Changes to Keep You Healthy
Ever been required to work at home during a pandemic before? Yeah, me neither; but here we are. We’re in it together, and we’ll all come out of it together! Meanwhile, one of the more important things you can do is try and limit yourself from undergoing an injury. Here are a few suggestions for things to help put your body in a strong and healthy position for success during this time.
- Laptop height – Elevating your computer, if possible, is a great way to put your head and neck in a strong and stable position to prevent neck pain. It can be easy for us to lean forward while typing which can add strain to our neck muscles and cause pain. Similar to holding a heavy box close to our bodies versus with outstretched arms, our necks are in charge of holding our heads in a good position. Elevating your laptop is a good way to prevent neck pain!
- Good posture – It can be easy for us to slouch down into poor posture or lean forward with our head out in front of our bodies (like mentioned above). Recent research tells us that for every inch that our ear is in front of our shoulder (looking from side view), 15 lbs of pressure is added to our cervical spine. A good way to maintain good posture is by utilizing a stand-up desk, using a work chair with lumbar spine support, and not lounging on the couch while working on a computer. Stand-up desks are becoming increasingly popular and are great ways to stay up and moving while being able to maintain productivity. Investing in a lumbar roll or even a rolled-up bath towel behind your low back while sitting is another good way to stay in good posture.
- Stay moving – Our bodies crave movement! In the office, you may be accustomed to walking down the hall to use the restroom or get a cup of water, or even making the trek upstairs to meet with a colleague a few times each day. But at home, it can be so easy to find that comfy spot on the couch and not move for hours. One good rule to utilize is the “50/10 rule.” For every 50 minutes of work, spend 10 minutes up and moving in order to avoid poor posture and maintain good blood flow to our muscles. Whether you work all 50 minutes and move for 10, or break it up into segments, this is a great reminder to stay loose and remember that “motion is lotion.”
- Watch the snacking – at home, having your full pantry and refrigerator just a few steps from your work station can be very tempting. Try and operate the way you would while at the office; place a few, healthy snacks at your desk if you find yourself needing to munch. Otherwise, you could end up standing in front of your pantry snacking on a bag of chips…while looking for another snack. Especially if you are currently dealing with an injury, healthy eating is a great way to recover. Reducing/eliminating inflammatory foods containing high amounts of sugar and processed ingredients is a great way to prepare your body for success.
These are just a few ways to maintain healthy habits while working in a different environment and to reduce the risk of work-related injuries. Follow these tips for a safe and productive work-from-home regimen!
If you do experience an injury, or are dealing with pain, movement issues, or other problems of the musculoskeletal system, Body One PT is here to help. We’re locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Indianapolis/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. We also offer free injury-screening at each location! Don’t wait to feel great, call Body One now!