One of the worst side effects of working from home full-time is the less ideal workspace setup. Most of us do not have a home office, dedicated table and chair for work, or simply a good place to work peacefully and healthily. No wonder, many choose to work on a couch, on the bed, carpet, or outside the house while borrowing the dining room chair.
But here’s the problem: working in such an adjustment could hurt our spine and make our body aches. Survey shows that there is a significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints, with more than half of respondents working from home reported new aches and pains. The problem of wrong working adjustments is also affecting individuals sleep quality and diet.
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If you are experiencing the pain from sitting too long or because of working long hours on your couch, worry no more, here are ways to work without hurting your spine.
We are taught to sit up straight with shoulders back. While this sitting position is good for posture, Esther Gokhale, a posture expert and acupuncturist, said that “sit up straight shoulder back” will also tense up our muscles.
When we try to sit up straight, it can alter our anatomy. If it becomes a habit, the muscles will inhibit the blood supply in the area which results in anaemic back. Repair is not happening efficiently for this problem.
To have a healthier back and working without hurting our spine, developing core strength is important. Gokhale believed that an individual should focus on the inner corset, a group of core muscles that support our spine. You can see her demonstration here.
Since many studies suggest that sitting too long increases the risk of obesity and is just not good for our health, standing desks could be a good option. However, working while standing should also be in the right position.
Gokhale recommended adopting a stance of readiness, maintaining a little bit of spring in our knees. This might take muscular effort, but it is way sounder. In general, try to use our muscles, and spare our joints when standing for a period of time. Chair pose (in yoga) is the same pose as when you need to stand well.
When working on a couch or bed, it is important to mind about our back, thus our spine won’t get stiff and ache. For this, Gokhale advised to consider stretch sitting or do some exercises regularly. The key is upright and relaxed, not upright and tense. The way you put your base and pelvis is key. It means to not tuck our tailbones, as we often tend to do when relaxing on the sofa.
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