Easy working from home stretches to keep pain at bay
Are you working from home and suffering from a sore neck or back?
Working from home has had many benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has also led to an increase in the number of hours we spend in positions that are hard on the body.
Whether your work days take place with a laptop on the couch, sitting at your kitchen table or in a dedicated home office space , your working from home work area could be causing you pain.
Even if your work from home setup is ergonomically sound, it can be easier to lose track of time and spend far too long sitting. Too much sitting is harmful—even if you exercise daily.
Why is it beneficial to take a stretching break?
Stretching exercises don’t just break up the work day; they also encourage the lengthening of your muscles and associated tendons. They counteract the shortening and tightening of muscles that can occur due to prolonged inactivity and awkward positions.
Taking regular breaks to stretch throughout the day can:
- Increase blood flow to your muscles
- Help joints work to their full range of motion
- Decrease muscle strain, tension and stiffness
How often should I take an exercise break?
In order to reduce those extended periods of sitting that exacerbate pain, take frequent, shorter breaks to relax and stretch your muscles as opposed to taking fewer long breaks.
For example, if you have to make phone calls at work, try walking and talking at the same time. If your job involves spending a long time on the computer typing, aim for a 5 minute stretching break for every 30 minutes you spend sitting down.
Check your neck, back and shoulder posture regularly and take consistent breaks. Those are the two most important things to remember when working from home.
During these consistent breaks, some simple stretches you can do will also help keep working from home pain at bay.
Simple stretches for your back and neck
When working from home, your back is one of the main areas that will experience stiffness and soreness if you’re not taking care of it. Not only that, back pain can also lead to referred pain in your neck, shoulders and hips if you don’t take steps to treat it.
- Back and Hip Stretch – Cross your right leg over left leg. Keep your shoulders square with the front of your body and look over your right shoulder as you place your left hand on your right knee and apply pressure. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on other side.
- Shoulder rolls – Roll your shoulders forward several times slowly and then backwards. Repeat 5 times.
- Head turns – Turn your head to look over your right shoulder and hold for 10 seconds. Turn the other way and hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat several times.
- Chin tucks – Raise your head to straighten the neck and then tuck your chin in and upwards creating a double chin. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat several times.
Get a stress ball!
It might be an oldie, but it is a great way to improve productivity, de-stress and is a good way to get your hands and forearms moving and stretching too.
Just keep in mind that there is no perfect posture in terms of a one size fits all solution. Aches, pains and cramps can result from remaining stationary for too long, so follow your physiotherapist’s advice and get moving when working in the home office!
Contact Lane Cove Physio today if you’re in need of a one on one with an expert physio. We treat a range of conditions and develop exercise routines with our patients to keep them healthy and pain-free no matter where they work from.