As many people are currently transitioning their daily work and routine to working from home, often times we are not as aware of our posture and thus, we often tend to develop poor postural habits. Poor posture often comes from when we are not thinking about it. Common indicators of poor posture include: rounded upper back, flat lower back and forward head position. Often times, these can cause neck, back pain and headaches. Here are our Top 5 tips to support your posture while working from home.
1. Ergonomic Work Station
Poorly set up work station at home can be the cause of most of your postural pain no matter how good your posture may be! Make sure your work station is ergonomically sound by following these tips:
When sitting in front of the computer, place the computer screen directly in front of you at an angle of 10-15 degrees below eye level with elbows resting on arm rest and knees remain bent at 90 degrees and thighs parallel and rested firmly on the ground. This will help prevent neck and low back pain. Using a lumbar support may also be helpful.
2. Postural Relief Exercise
This exercise helps maintain proper posture. WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM THIS EXERCISE? Basically ANYONE! However, it is most beneficial for people who work an office jobs or driving and sitting for long period of time.
Start by sitting or standing up straight. Roll your shoulders back and down. Fully straighten your elbows, wrist and fingers and bring your arms back behind your body. Gently arch through your mid back by pushing your chest forward. Hold for 30 seconds. Best to repeat every half an hour of sustained sitting.
3. Neck Stretches to Relieve Neck Tension and Stiffness
Levator scapulae muscle stretch
While sitting upright, look down and rotate your head to the right. Place your right hand on top of your head and pull down gently towards the right knee until a stretch is felt at the back of the left neck. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side. Perform 3 times per day.
Scalenes/Upper trapezius muscles stretch
While sitting upright, laterally bend your head to the right so your right ear approximates your shoulder. Place your right hand across the left side of your head and gently pull down until a stretch is felt at the left side of the neck. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side. Perform 3 times per day .
Suboccipital and posterior neck muscles Stretch
While standing or sitting facing forward, pull your head and neck back so your ears are inline with the shoulders (as if nodding "yes"). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat up to 10 times. Perform 3 times per day.
4. Move Often and Move Well!
"The Best Posture is the Next Posture!" - This is a good rule to go by when sitting or standing for long periods of time. Whether you're standing doing the dishes, or sitting at the computer at work, it's important to change your position and posture often to prevent achy muscles and joints. A good rule is to change your sustained posture and position every 20-30 mins. This means even if we have the absolute best posture, it's more important to introduce movement rather than hold that position forever. Movement is life for our muscles and joints, and when you're stationary your body will gives you signs in the form of aches and pains to start moving again, make sure you listen to your body's signs!
Your body is made of 70% of water and thus we use water for bodily functions such as muscle contraction, joint movement ie. running, walking, biking etc. When your body is lacking water and your not properly hydrated this can lead to muscle tightness, spasm and along with poor performance. Make sure you are hydrating well and drinking 1.5 - 2 Liters of water daily.
We hope you found these tips helpful to maintain optimal function while working from home! Please note these tips are only a recommendations, make sure to stop any movements or exercises if your pain worsens and consult with your healthcare professional!