07 May Is working from home causing you back pain?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic many people have started working from home and have created makeshift working stations. Which is why a large number of people are experiencing lower back pain caused by changes to their posture and poor workstation set up. The lockdown has turned dining rooms, sofas, and bedrooms into our new offices. Many of us are experiencing low back pain because of poor posture resulting from prolonged sitting on soft surfaces. Improving your sitting posture will help to reduce this pain and discomfort.
Prolonged sitting even on a hard surface is unhealthy for you as it reduces spine mobility. Poor sitting positions can damage your body even further, by causing misalignments to your spine. When you sit down, the weight of your upper body is being supported by the lower back and pelvis. Continuously sitting in a slumped position will reduce or even completely reverse the natural curve of your spine in your lower back. This in turn places unnecessary pressure on your intervertebral discs, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons in your back. The added pressure can cause the tissues in your lower back to become stiff, painful, and more vulnerable to injury.
Why you should not sit on a soft surface:
When you sit on a soft surface it is only natural for you to sink into it. This means that when you sit on soft surfaces like a bed or sofa the weight of your upper body will cause the pelvis to sink further into the cushion or mattress than your legs. The sinking of your pelvis creates a backwards (posterior) tilt to it, which influences the curve in your spine allowing your body to relax and not maintain the correct posture.
How should your posture be when sitting:
Ideally you your spine to be stacked like a tower, which reduces your effort to stay upright. Aim for an elongated S-shape of the spine rather than a collapsed C-shape. Check for the gentle curve in your lower back and avoid leaning backwards on your tailbone, as this will make you slouch. Also do not lean forwards from your pelvis, which will cause the back to overarch. Your ribcage should be directly above your pelvis. Your shoulder blades must be wide in your upper back and your collarbone must be opened in the front of your chest. Lengthen your neck and allow your head to balance freely on top of your spine.
How to sit correctly when working at home (these tips can also be used at the office):
There is no absolute correct sitting posture that will prevent pain, but these tips can help to reduce the pain experienced.
- It is always best to work at a desk.
- Support your back:
By using a correctly adjusted chair, that properly supports your lower back, . and your knees should be in a position that is slightly lower than your hips.
- Adjust your chair, so that your wrists and forearms are straight and paralell with the floor. Your elbows should be at the side of your body so that your arms form an L-shape at the elbow joint. This will prevent you from being slouched over when working.
- Rest your feet on the floor:
Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should not be crossed. Crossing your legs can contribute to posture-related problems and exacerbate lower back pain. If you are unable to place your feet flat on the floor, you can use a footrest so that your feet rest at a comfortable level. Your knees should be bent at a ninety-degree angle.
- Take regular breaks:
Prolonged sitting is detrimental for your back health and posture. To reduce back pain, you should frequently take short breaks. A quick five-minute walk will help prevent stiffness in your joints and muscles. The key here is to move as frequently as you can to keep your spine mobile and to reduce pain. The movement will also aid blood flow around your body and help your brain stay fresh, sharp, and focused.
Practising Pilates will help you to active and strengthen your postural muscles, stretch out the areas that feel tight and relieve pain. Pilates will not only make you aware of good posture it will also give you the inner strength to maintain it.
At OsteoVision our team is highly skilled and trained to consult and treat any posture related problems. Book an appointment with us and we will be able to assist you.
Harvey, D., 2020. Is Working From Home Causing Your Back Pain?. [online] HEALTH SHAK. Available at: <https://healthshak.co.uk/blogs/news/is-working-from-home-causing-your-back-pain> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
nhs.uk. 2021. How to sit at your desk correctly. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-sit-correctly/> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
Perlman, E., 2021. How to improve your posture while sitting. [online] Thetimes.co.uk. Available at: <https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-to-improve-your-posture-while-sitting-7dpnmlsr9?shareToken=ae49ebdf3ec875b3583f62b601a1d5bc> [Accessed 25 May 2021].