The COVID-19 pandemic has forced thousands of people to work from home over the past 10 months or so. While many have enjoyed this change, others have quickly found themselves dealing with back pain caused by working from home.
This type of back pain, sometimes called ‘WFH back pain’ is caused by working in a way that places excessive strain on the back. As a busy chiropractic in Ealing, our chiropractors have seen an influx of patients with this type of back pain in recent months.
Our chiropractic team at The Spine & Joint Centre helps these patients by offering a range of chiropractic treatments. However, the real key to addressing WFH back pain is to tackle the root cause of the issue. In this post, our Ealing chiropractor takes a closer look at causes of WFH back pain and how to tackle them.
What Causes WFH Back Pain?
Sitting for too long
Spending long periods of time in a chair can take a toll on your back. It causes the spine to become compressed and places significant strain on the spine’s intervertebral discs. In
addition to causing generalised back pain and stiffness, this can increase the risk of injury to your spinal discs, muscles, and joints. In fact, a number of the patients visiting our chiropractic clinic in Ealing have degeneration of tissues in the back from years of prolonged sitting.
Working without good ergonomics
A work environment with ‘good ergonomics’ is one that is designed to minimise the amount of discomfort and fatigue you experience throughout the day. An ergonomic work station will include a comfortable chair which can be adjusted to suit your body and ensure good posture, a desk and monitor that are set at the right height, and so on.
If your work environment has bad ergonomics, you might be dealing with an uncomfortable chair that places strain on your back, hard to use objects, and poorly located items. This type of environment can cause your posture to suffer, leading to muscle and joint pain.
Working long hours
When you work from home for a while, your timetable becomes less regimented. There is no well defined lunch break or knock off time. As a result, you may find yourself working much longer than you normally would. This can lead to more strain being place on your back as you spend many hours hunched over a computer or laptop.
Using mobile devices for work
When you are working at home, you tend to make do with what is available. If you don’t have a desktop computer available, you might turn to a laptop, tablet, or phone.
Unfortunately, it’s much harder to maintain good posture with these types of devices. They tend to end up in your lap with resulting in you angling your head forward to look down at it. This can place unnecessary strain on the neck and back.
Fixes For WFH Back Pain
Practice good office ergonomics
Setting up your home office so it is ergonomic does take some time and money, but it is worth the effort. Read this short guide from ErgoPlus to learn a few simple office ergonomic tips. The British Chiropractic Association has also produced a useful guide on office ergonomics. To help you get started, use the following approach when setting up your desk and chair:
- Adjust your chair so your feet are flat on the ground, knees bent at almost 90 degree angle (with a slightly upward slope towards hips), and eyes level with the top of the computer screen. Place a book under your screen if it is too low.
- Keep your arms parallel to the ground so your elbows are at about 90 degrees. Ideally, use arm rests for additional support.
- If using a laptop or tablet, sit at a table and keep the device at eye level. It should be placed in a way where you don’t need to look down to use it.
Take regular breaks
Most of the patients who have visited our chiropractic clinic with WFH back pain have mentioned that they have been sitting much more often than normal. Counteract the damage caused by sitting by limiting your time in a chair to 40 minutes. After 40 minutes is up, spend 5 to 10 minutes walking around and stretching. Ideally, use a standing desk, so you can spend as much time standing as you spend sitting.
Don’t ignore back pain
If you experience any back pain, make an appointment with a doctor or chiropractor. It’s always best to resolve back pain sooner rather than later. The earlier you seek out care, the less damage will be done to your back.
Sleep on a quality mattress that supports good posture
Getting a good night’s sleep can help counteract some of the stresses placed on your back during the day. Although you may be tempted to change your sleep patterns, as you are working from home, do your best to get 8 hours of sleep every night.
Be mindful of how you use your body
If your work involves lifting or repetitive actions, be mindful of you are using your body. Read this guide to learn how to lift objects safely and this guide on how to handle repetitive tasks safely.
Visiting Our Chiropractic Clinic in Ealing
If you are suffering back pain or neck pain our chiropractors at The Spine & Joint Centre in Ealing are here to help you. To book an appointment with one of our chiropractors, call our clinic on 020 8900 9004.
We have treated thousands of patient like you to get out of pain as quickly as possible and with the minimum of discomfort.
“I was recommended to come to this centre by a friend. I injured my back travelling for work and Rishi and the team have been fantastic. My back was cured within the 4-5 week timeline and now I go for regular monthly catch ups and pleased to say all is well. The recommendations are spot on and fit in with my hectic work schedule. Friendly staff and has a real friendly and homily vibe. Excellent service all around and well worth it.” Samsam Schwammy (5* Google Review)