Work from home practical tips to avoid back pain and tech neck

Oct 28, 2021 | Uncategorized

MakatiMed’s Department of Orthopaedics shares practical tips

As coronavirus cases have surged, several companies have mandated their employees to work from home. This new work structure has given several employers the flexibility to continue their business operations while prioritizing their staff’s wellbeing and safety.

Work from home practical tips to avoid back pain and tech neck

Working remotely can be appealing with no commute time, no in-person supervision, and no dress code. However, it can also present challenges that may cause stress and anxiety to some. 

Working from home for long hours may lead to mental fatigue

For one, those working without proper facilities or work equipment may feel a little pressured because failure to have a reliable internet connection, a good laptop, or office equipment may negatively impact their productivity.

The same goes for those who have created a makeshift workstation at a little corner of their room or living space. Working from home for long hours may lead to mental fatigue and burnout. It may also cause back pain and chronic pain in the neck and lower back. 

We may not be aware that sitting longer in chairs not designed for desk jobs can cause health issues. Anne Kathleen Ganal-Antonio, MD of the Department of Orthopaedics of top hospital in the Philippines Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed), said that these health issues might get in our day-to-day tasks and affect our productivity, and even make us more prone to injury and fatigue. 

With the emergence of more dangerous coronavirus variants and COVID-19 cases still on the rise, it is most likely this kind of work from home set up is nowhere near finished.

Dr. Ganal-Antonio shares simple adjustments that may help us get the work done minus the unnecessary aches and discomforts.

Create an ergonomic workspace

To many, buying expensive office furnishings solves discomforts. But Dr. Ganal-Antonio reassures us that we can always improvise. 

The computer screen must be in front of us at a comfortable viewing height, not in a place where we need to look down. Prop the laptop to eye level by stacking books or using a sturdy box. We can also invest in an external keyboard and mouse to somehow give room for our hands and arms. 

Make sure, too, that the forearms and hands are at level and straight when we use the keyboard. On the other hand, our arm must be close to the side of our body when using the mouse. The more we stretch our arm to the side, the greater the chance of straining our neck and shoulder.

Work from home practical tips to avoid back pain and tech neck
A makeshift home office may lead to chronic pain in the neck and lower back.

Learned, too, from Dr. Ganal-Antonio that as we sit, we must make sure that our hips and knees are level, or our hips are slightly above the knees. Slouching and leaning forward will do no help, too. Instead, sit with the upper back straight and the lower back curving to the chair’s shape. It will help if we use a pillow to support our lower back. And don’t forget that the feet touch the floor. 

Dr. Ganal-Antonio also recommends using standing tables or a footstool. “According to the pioneering study conducted by Swedish spine researcher and orthopedic surgeon Alf Nachemson, when we flex forward, more stress is concentrated at the discs, which are the shock absorbers of the spine. It’s best to be slightly reclined, about 110 degrees. You can use standing tables to lessen the stress. Adding a foot stool to alternately rest each foot can also help.”

Get up

As the saying goes, sitting is the new smoking. Studies have linked longer sitting time with a higher risk of death, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Standing for long periods, though, has also been associated with varicose veins and back pain. 

Dr. Ganal-Antonio shares that “A professor of ergonomics from the Cornell University suggests following the rule of 20-8-2. Sit for 20 minutes, get up for 8 minutes, and move around for at least 2 minutes.” 

When taking a health break, it is prudent to stretch, roll our shoulders, do arm circles, or touch our toes. Also, give a reason to walk farther than usual. For example, placing the printer or phone on the other side of the room is wise. Again, this gives us a reason to walk.

Work out in your workplace

It would make us feel fantastic if we started and ended our workday with simple yet effective exercises that aim to strengthen our core and target our back and shoulders muscles. For example, we may begin with 10 squats, 10 tricep dips using a stable chair, and 10 wall push-ups. We can also do jumping jacks, push-ups, and crunches to stimulate circulation.

Avoid back pain and tech neck

The effects of too much sitting may be harmful to our health. Sitting for long hours may put huge stress on our back muscles and our neck and spine. This becomes worse when all we do as we sit is slouch. It would give us huge favor to get up and move around for a minute or two every half hour. Also, we are most likely to finish that important report all happy and healthy as we take a health break from time to time than cram all day and night on our seat.  

Momi Berlin Directory

MakatiMed Website

Work from home practical tips to avoid back pain and tech neck

15 Comments

  1. Owen Ponce

    Il start doing this tomorrow… Not next month but tomorrow… These are very helpful and important matter.. if like to start anew to a healthier lifestyle

    Reply
  2. Antoniette Sanchez David

    Wow nice tips momi may ibig sabihin pala ang 20,8 at 2 Galing magawa nga din po ito salamat sa magandang share momi ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  3. Lea Bandola

    Worth to share Momi. thankss for this . ❤️

    Reply
  4. Yanpaladquisol

    Helpful tips ito lalo sa mga wfh at naka online class. Big help para maiwasan ang kahit Anong pain na dulot ng nakaupo ng ilang oras. Thanks for sharing mommy ❤️

    Reply
  5. Ruby Grace Pagar

    A very helpful tips lalong lalo na sa mga work from home para iwas sa mga back pains and neck pain ang laking tulong ng may breaks at may proper sitting.

    Reply
  6. Jen Guzman

    May bagong healthy tips nanaman po kaming natutunan Momi 🥰🥰🥰 kailangan talaga maging healthy tayo mahirap po talaga ang mag kasakit 😔, naumpisahan ko na po yung putol putol na exercise talaga naman nakaka ginhawa sa pakiramdam, ito naman po ang isusunod kong gagawin para mag tuloy tuloy na ang pagiging healthy na ako 🥰🥰🥰

    Reply
  7. jennifer sarno cruz

    Thank you for sharing this momi…need talaga ipractice tong mga to ng mga work from home gaya ng asaw ko na babad sa laptop 8 hours a day pawa iwas back pain and fatigue.

    Reply
  8. Ma. Cyril Creer

    Ang dami po talagang nakakaexperience ng backpain and tech neck kaya malaking tulong po itong mga practical tips na ito upang maprevent natin ito .. Kailangang gawin itong 20-8-2 exercise .. ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  9. Jcka Ranum

    Thanks for sharing this Mommy .. laking tulong Lalo na SA work at home at nag oonline class .. nice and very helpful tips ..

    Reply
  10. Anarose Lucero

    Thanks for this awesome tips momi,I will share this to my homeworkers friends,this will helps a lot for sure

    Reply
    • momiberlin

      yey. welcome po.

      Reply
  11. winnie Cruz

    Pagawa ko nga po ito sa Mr ko madalas ung bewang at likod nya nanakit po .. laking help din po nitong shinare nyo pom

    Reply
    • momiberlin

      nakatutuwa naman at may maiseshare po kayo kay mister

      Reply
  12. Mitra Lyka

    Sa 20-8-2 rules ako talagang tumatak dahil po sa asawa ko na madalas nakupo dahil sa call center po siya nagwowork. Dapat talagang laging nagkikilos para di magkaroon ng mga sakit.

    Reply
    • momiberlin

      naku oo kapag call center talaga.. ingat po sya lagi.

      Reply

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