Weeks of working from home on makeshift desks with no ergonomic chair is taking its toll on our bodies.
Here, John Godfrey, senior physiotherapist at Dubai-based Mediclinic Meadows, shares his tips for easing the aches.
Working from a new environment — such as a dining table, sofa, bed or floor — can cause some people to experience pain or discomfort simply due to the difference in posture and the length of time spent in these new positions. Discomfort is likely to be felt in the spine which includes the neck, mid-back and lower back, the shoulders and areas such as the chest and hamstrings, which can develop tightness.
Changing up your workspace can be useful to alleviate symptoms. If you have been sitting while working on a laptop and you develop back pain, try standing and working from a higher position such as the kitchen worktop.
Take regular breaks or what can be known as “movement snacks” — performing simple exercises every 30 minutes. These can be in your chair, standing or just walking around and taking a few minutes away from your workspace. This is critical in managing symptoms and can prevent them from developing further. Another option is to use external supports such as a pillow — either behind lower back level or you can try sitting on it — which will automatically improve your posture.
Simple ‘movement snacks’ to try at home:
Perform these exercises every 30 minutes.
Sitting cat or cow
Sit up straight then move down into a slouched position. Ensure movement is occurring from the pelvis. Repeat 10 times.
Rotate to the right in your chair and grab the back of the chair with your right hand, hold for a few seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Extend your arms above your head and lean back into the chair, hold for a few seconds, relax and repeat five times.