Working from home is ideal for many reasons: your commute disappears, you can work in your clothing of choice, and the hours tend to be more flexible. However, one downside is that many people who don’t have a dedicated workspace end up developing back pains from working in less-than-ideal locations such as the couch or the bed. Use this guide to help promote spine health through good habits, exercise, and visiting bodywork specialists.
Developing good habits.
One of the best ways to maintain and improve spine health is by developing good working habits. If you’re prone to working long hours, you run the risk of sitting for too long. Spine health experts say you should aim to take a break every 30 to 60 minutes to stretch. Grab a drink of water, pet your dog, or step outside for some fresh air.
Optimize your workspace.
If you suddenly started working from home after years of being in an office, it’s likely that you don’t have a dedicated office space in your house. For many, not having a regular workspace can mean the living room couch is suddenly your office. While the couch is fine for watching a movie, it’s not great for working — most couches lack lumbar support, meaning your back will eventually suffer from slouching all day.
Make it a priority to get an office desk and chair with good lumbar support. If you don’t have space in your home for a desk, use the dining table as a makeshift one. Just be sure to modify your dining table chairs with cushions to help support your lower back. Aim to sit tall with your shoulders back, avoiding slouching as much as possible.
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Wear comfortable clothing.
One of the best things about working from home is the ability to wear whatever you want. While you might have to put on a nice shirt for the occasional Zoom call (for the most part), you can get by in leggings or sweats for most of the day. For women, a comfortable bra without an underwire is also a must because it will allow you to easily jump into a workout routine after you finish work for the day.
Working from home can sometimes lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. One way to mitigate this is by adopting a regular exercise routine. While you may not be able to go to the gym due to pandemic closures, you can still get a good workout at home by doing online workout videos. If you’ve noticed some back or neck pain creeping in, there are specific exercises you can do to support your spine.
Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that supports spine health. If you’re new to the practice, start with some easy beginner classes. Try to find a mix of classes that are both restorative and active. For example, yin can be excellent for loosening stiff joints and improving flexibility, while vinyasa can build muscle and improve mobility.
Sometimes taking up yoga isn’t quite enough to get your spine healthy. If your back or neck pain is consistent, you may want to seek out a physical therapist or chiropractor.
Physical therapists will help you come up with some specific, targeted exercises to help address your pain. This might include mild strength training or some simple stretches. The bonus of seeking a physical therapist is that you’ll get a professional opinion regarding the source of your pain and the best form of treatment.
For some, a spinal realignment from a chiropractor might be necessary. Chiropractors are experts at readjusting the skeletal system and can spot imbalances in the body. If physical therapy and exercise aren’t helping, a trip to the chiro could help.
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Back and neck pain can be debilitating for many, but you can improve your situation by developing good habits and finding a space to work in your home that supports your lower back. Sit at a table if possible, and support your lumbar by placing a pillow at your lower back. Dress comfortably, exercise regularly, and if needed, seek out a physical therapist or chiropractor to help get back to health. If you’re looking for comfortable clothing that’s made from sustainable products, check out The Blue Ocean Life Company shop to support the planet and feel great.
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The Blue Ocean Life Community is thankful to Amy Mason, the founder of FitnessoftheMind.org, for offering another insightful post on ways to improve wellness.
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