About 26 million Americans, or 1 in 6 U.S. workers, worked partially or entirely from home before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that states are mandating that non-essential employees stay at home, that number has increased dramatically. If you fall into this category, you might be experiencing new pains and aches that you weren’t previously experiencing. That’s because, even though it’s not required, many businesses build their computer workstations by the ANSI-HFS standard, outfitting the office with ergonomic furniture and supplies.
However, most residential settings simply lack the room for today’s ergonomic office furniture, and most people don’t invest in it, especially if they spend most of their time at work. Therefore, if you work from home, it’s likely that you are either sitting in a lounge chair or on your bed, using your computer on a conventional table or a kitchen countertop. Wherever you’ve set up camp for the day, likely, your posture isn’t ideal.
You would not need to worry if you do this for little periods, but our weeks spent at home are eclipsing months. And as businesses realize that some tasks no longer require traditional in-office hours, remote working is likely to continue to be the standard for millions of workers long after the pandemic has gone. The bad news is that if you are already experiencing physical exhaustion, you could be headed for a musculoskeletal injury that could be permanently disabling, such as a sore back, sore neck, sore shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome, or even deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots development in your body’s deepest veins.
What can you do, then? Work as much as possible while maintaining a neutral posture—a relaxed stance in which no body part is abnormally bent or twisted—and take short breaks to move around to increase circulation. This necessitates paying attention to the following 10 pieces of advice when using a computer:
1. Straighten Your Neck and Stare at Your Computer Screen.
Position your screen so that it is at a comfortable height for you to see it. Avoid looking down at your screen, such as a laptop or phone on a table. Additionally, avoid tilting your screen so that you must twist your neck. Some individuals prefer to position their keyboard and mouse in front of them while swiveling their screen to the side.
However, this causes them to Relieve Back Pain. If you have a separate screen or are using a laptop, you might need to lift it to a comfortable viewing height directly in front of you by placing it on a stack of books or a cardboard box.
2. Put Your Screen Sideways to A Bright Window.
Avoid working with Relieve Back Pain to a window, where the light streaming in will generate a glare on your screen, and avoid working in front of a window, where you’ll be staring into the light, to reduce the likelihood of visual eye strain from glare or incomplete retinal adaptation. Your screen should be perpendicular to the window unless there are shutters or curtains that may be drawn. Cover your work surface if it is glass to reduce glare from reflections.
3. View Any Paper Documents with A Straight Neck.
Your head will have to constantly shift up and down if you read from an iPad or flat documents on a table. Use a vertical document holder or place your iPad on a stand if switching between a laptop or computer screen and other reading material is necessary.
4. Put Your Keyboard and Mouse or Touchpad at A Comfortable Height in Front of You.
Use a separate keyboard and mouse if your laptop has been adjusted to the proper height for your screen. As you use the keyboard and mouse, make sure your forearms and hands are level and straight. When using a mouse, make sure your arm is near the side of your body. The hand’s nerves exit the neck at the shoulder, travel to the elbow, and then terminate at the wrist. The nerves are not constricted when your arm is at your side, but the further out to the side you extend, the higher the risk of straining your neck or shoulder.
5. Don’t Use a Soft, Squishy Wrist Rest.
Putting anything beneath your wrists may appear to be supporting them, but doing so adds pressure to the median nerve and the finger flexor tendons, increasing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
6. Switch Back and Forth Between Voice Input and Keyboard/mouse Input.
For the majority of text and email, voice recognition is good. Your hands, wrists, and arms can rest while doing this.
7. Sit Back in Your Chair.
Don’t strive to sit straight or lean forward like a turtle in your chair. Your tummy is drawn in toward your lower back. This posture, known as lordosis, is the most relaxing for the lower back and relieves the least amount of pressure on the intervertebral discs there. The intervertebral lumbar discs are subjected to a great deal of pressure, when you lean forward because of the kyphosis, or outward bending, of the lumbar spine.
Therefore, you should sit so that your lumbar spine’s lordotic curve is supported. To comfortably use your keyboard, you should be able to sit back in your chair such that some of your weight is supported by the Relieve Back Pain of the seat. Use a cushion or towel that has been wrapped up behind your lower back if the chair does not have adequate lower-back support. It’s a less efficient and less affordable alternative to an ergonomic chair, but it’s still preferable to nothing.
8. when Sitting, Rest Your Feet Flat on Either the Floor or Foot Support.
Use a box, stack of books, pillow, or footrest if your feet don’t reach the floor. To avoid putting pressure under the thighs, restricting blood flow to your lower legs and feet, and raising your risk of deep vein thrombosis, avoid pulling your feet back behind the chair or letting them hang in the air.
9. Limit the Time You Work on Your Bed.
If you don’t sit on the side of the bed, your legs will be crossed or extended horizontally, supporting your laptop, making a bed even worse for you than a chair. You’ll have to stoop down to see the screen well at that angle. If lying down is your only choice, place a pillow behind your back to lean against the headboard and place a cushion on your lap with your laptop on it. Alternatively, purchase a low table that fits over your legs and allows you to use your laptop at a comfortable height to type without hurting your neck.
10. Avoid Prolonged Standing for Computer Work.
Many individuals mistakenly believe that because standing desks are available, standing is healthier for their bodies. Ergonomists, however, have long known that standing while working consumes more energy than sitting and places more stress on the circulatory system, the legs, and the feet. It has been connected to the advancement of carotid atherosclerosis in males with ischemic heart disease.
The likelihood of developing varicose veins is also increased by prolonged standing. To make or take phone calls, stand up, and move around. To encourage circulation and relax muscles, get up and move around for a minute or two every 20 to 30 minutes. Take a stroll to brew tea or coffee or to fetch a glass of water. But avoid attempting to work continuously when seated.