According to reports from the CDC, about 50 million Americans deal with chronic pain. The National Health Interview Survey, with responses from over 17,000 adults, concluded that one in five adults in the U.S. suffers from chronic pain.
Of those respondents, about 20 million suffer from chronic pain that interferes with their day-to-day activities. More elderly people are at risk of suffering from chronic pain but so are women, adults with lower income levels, and those living in rural areas of the country.
Working from home and chronic pain
Chronic pain can be a result of other illnesses as well as a lack of lumbar support. It can develop on its own or as a result of mistakes you make in posture or the ways you move your body incorrectly.
It’s important to have a comfortable working space, especially when working from home. A home office that offers the best lumbar support will help you be your most productive. Keep reading to find out the best ways to set up your workplace at home.
Pay Attention to Posture
While you’re concentrated on your work it can be easy to forget to maintain a proper posture, but this is crucial to providing adequate lumbar support. Slouching doesn’t just look bad, but it can be damaging to your spine and can lead to a lot of pain.
The number one thing to remember is to keep your back straight by sitting all the way back in your chair. This will help keep your joints aligned and prevent injuries to the muscles or spine.
Since sitting for long periods of time isn’t great for your body, you may also consider getting a standing desk for your home office. While working in this position it’s also important to keep your posture in check. You may want to get a mat for relief and comfort for your feet while using the standing desk.
Keep Your Head and Neck in a Comfortable Position
Working on a computer can lead to pain in your neck usually as a result of having to push your neck forward. Keeping your head aligned with your neck and not pushing forward can prevent feelings of discomfort in all areas of your body.
Make sure to keep your shoulders back and relax them if you feel them tensing up. It’s good to make a routine of taking time to check the position of your body before starting your workday and at different times throughout it. Your shoulders should be over your hips and remember not to curve your neck by moving forward.
Do You Have the Right Computer?
Since working at home is becoming more common these days, it’s important to think about the equipment you use and how it’s best serving you to be your most productive.
Many people think that the laptop at home is the best thing to use for work. While in the short term this is an easy way to work, in the long term it can cause issues. Using a laptop prevents you from positioning it in a way where you can be typing and looking at it in the most adequate way. A simple solution is to buy an external keyboard so that you can type comfortably, so the monitor won’t be so low that you have to bend your neck down to look at it.
You can always try adding some books beneath your laptop to elevate it to eye level, this will prevent you from pushing your neck forward and down to see the screen. Make sure that your computer is always an arms-length distance from you in order to keep your arms bent at 90 degrees. This will give you all the support needed to prevent pain in the neck and back as well.
Another crucial thing to remember is to never set up your monitor to the side because all the turning your neck will have to do will lead to a lot of pain.
What Is Lumbar Support?
Lumbar support is a way to keep good posture while supporting the lumbar spine, the area of the lower back just above your bottom. Since this area tends to curve naturally, it’s important to support it to prevent pain and make your workspace as comfortable as possible.
You can try supporting your lower back with a pillow to make you feel more comfortable. A rolled-up towel placed between your chair and lower back can help too.
If you’ll be working from home for the long-term, then look into finding the best lumbar support cushion for your office chair. This butt cushion, for instance, will help support your lower back and prevent pain in areas like your hips and legs as well.
Add Adjustments to Your Chair
If investing in a home office chair, it’s crucial that you get an adjustable one so you can place it at the appropriate height for your comfort and to maintain eye level when looking at your monitor.
Where should lumbar support be? For the best lumbar support, you’ll want to get a comfortable desk chair that can offer back support and armrests as well. Some office chairs come with lumbar support already built-in, and with an added support cushion for your bottom you’ll be able to prevent discomfort while you work.
Don’t Overexert Your Hands and Wrists
If your job requires you to be on your computer all day, this can lead to a lot of pain in your back, your hands, and your wrists as well. There’s a position you can keep them in to prevent pain and overexertion too.
Your hands should be close enough to your computer to reach the keyboard, and they should hover slightly above it. If you want to type in a way that ensures your wrists are aligned with your arms without having to bend them too much, keep them as straight as possible.
Your Elbows and Knees Are Important Too
Keep in mind that in order to provide proper lumbar support and prevent pain you must hold your body properly. Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle and stay comfortably close to your body.
An office chair with armrests, as mentioned before, can support the upper portion of your body. Armrests can help keep your arms at that 90-degree angle and will prevent you from sitting wrong and developing pain.
You also want to make sure you keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. This is the best position to maintain proper posture and it can help keep your legs from swelling. It’ll also make it easier for you to stretch your legs when needed to increase circulation.
Take care of your feet
In order to have proper lumbar support, your feet must be in the best position. If your knees are bent at that 90-degree angle, then your feet should lay flat on the floor.
For the shorter people, whose feet don’t reach the floor, adding a footrest can solve this issue while providing additional comfort. It’s also a good idea to lift your feet up and stretch them throughout the day. You can move them forward and back or from side to side to keep them from cramping up.
One of the most important ways you can support your lower back and prevent injury and pain is to take time throughout your workday to move around. You need to move around to prevent stiffness from being in the same position, as well as to get your blood flowing.
Simply taking a couple of minutes to do some stretches can make a difference in how your body feels. Stretching is important in maintaining muscle flexibility and range of motion in your joints, so make sure you’re doing it while you work.
You should aim to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes, while it might seem like an interruption to your work it can actually help you work more productively.
You can also change up the way you work to prevent staying in the same position all day. Try doing work using a standing desk for an hour or two. If you’re able, walking in place while working can also help break up the routine.
Your home office setup might be a little different from your office at work. You might have to make some extra adjustments to provide lumbar support and make your workspace as comfortable as possible.
Using cushions or getting a new chair are simple ways to prevent pain and injury. Make sure you check out some of our other blogs to learn more.