Working from home can be helpful if you have an appointment to get to, or perhaps a delivery you need to receive, but it can often be the reason for aches and pains in the neck and lower back if your desk set-up isn’t ideal. Below are some helpful tips to ensure working from home on a laptop doesn’t mean a trip to the physio the next day:
Laptops are great if you need to use it for a very short period, however they aren’t ideal if you’re expecting to work a full day on it. A great starting point is to get a riser so the laptop screen is at eye level and will prevent you from rounding out through your shoulders and adopting a bent over position. This will help avoid a forward head posture and excessive forces going through your neck and lower back. If you don’t have a riser you can use other things such as phone books, bricks or shoe boxes to lift the screen up to a more suitable height.
Having a separate keyboard will help you adopt a more upright position as you won’t have to lean your body forward to reach your keyboard. It will also allow your elbows to rest gently on your table which will help prompt a neutral spine and upright chest.
Lumbar support is helpful when it comes to maintaining a neutral spine and preventing a slouched position. If your chair doesn’t have much in the way of lumbar support, you can roll up a towel and place it in the small of your lower back to encourage the natural sway of our spine. Alternatively, you can pick up lower back supports from places such as Kmart and Officeworks. We also have them here at South Melbourne Physio. They simply slip over the back of your chair and can be adjusted to where you feel it’s needed.
With any prolonged sitting, whether it be at work or in your own home, it is always important to have regular breaks. Take yourself for a walk at lunchtime, or even write yourself up a little stretching routine to break the day up and keep you from stiffening up.
If you’re interested in speaking to one of our physiotherapists about your home set up, give the clinic a call on (03) 96457955