Chiropractor Shares Top Tips To Protect Back While Working From Home
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Before 2020, the idea of working from home was nothing more than a utopian dream for many of us.
Nowadays, lockdown measures have forced employers across the world to rely on a virtual workforce, and the vision of late alarms and meetings in pyjamas has been realised.
However, while none of us miss sitting in rush hour traffic, peeling our faces off sweaty armpits on the tube or making small talk with that pr*ck Wendy in HR, one common gripe about this WFH business is back pain.
Of course, office workers spent most of their days on their arses before lockdowns became a thing, but now employees' days have become almost entirely sedentary, with movement limited to a repetitive toilet-desk-bed triangle.
Plus, the chairs and desks we use at home are likely to be less suitable for sitting in/at for prolonged periods.
Fortunately though, there are plenty of things we can do to take care of our back health during these trying times.
Catherine Quinn, President of the British Chiropractic Association, has shared five top tips with us that could make all the difference.
First up, try and break out of the toilet-desk-bed misery triangle.
Speaking to LADbible, Catherine said: "Build a routine that's realistic and works for your lifestyle. Incorporating movement into your day is so important, but many of us set unmanageable goals for exercise.
"When we don't achieve these goals, which are far reaching to start with, this then impacts our motivation, making us less likely to create new positive habits for our wellbeing.
"It's great to set longer term intentions, but start small, for example taking a 15-20-minute walk on your lunch break. Over time this will become almost an automatic habit and you can build it up from there - it's all about manageable bitesize chunks."
Next up, mix it up.
Catherine said: "Our bodies love variation, so try to mix up the position you work in - if you work at a desk or table, consider a laptop stand which will allow you to work standing up.
"It's also totally fine to get creative - I've used my kitchen counter and a chest of drawers before as a DIY standing desk. Just make sure your screen is eye-level. Stacking books is a good way to easily add height.
"If you're like me and the workday whizzes by without looking at the clock, try scheduling a 'standing hour' in your diary as a reminder."
At the end of a long day in your makeshift office, it's important that you help your body recover by catching some zzzs.
Catherine advised: "A great night's sleep is a game changer - it's all too easy to scroll through TikTok and Instagram reels from bed, and before you know it an hour's gone.
"Try and protect the hour before you go to bed as your personal wind down time. My tips include avoiding blue light tech - most phones have a night-time mode, which changes the screen light and stops notifications coming through.
"I find reading a great way to nod off - apps like Calm have bedtime stories designed specifically to help you drift off, if you prefer to listen. Again, the main thing is about consistency and sticking to similar timings each night, so you train your brain for your new routine."
Surprise surprise, that thing that is good for everything, exercise, is also a great way to keep your back on track.
Catherine explained: "With changing lockdown restrictions and generally poorer weather on the way, getting outside to exercise or going to the gym is harder.
"To look after your back health there are lots of easy exercises you can do at home. One of my favourites is using a towel like a foam roller and lying with your back across it - this will really help open up your chest. Your body will love you for it if you tend to hunch over your keyboard."
Last but not least, try and get some of that delicious Vitamin D in ya.
Catherine said: "It's important to ensure you get enough daylight, particularly throughout the winter months.
"Vitamin D is an essential part of maintaining your wellbeing and the NHS supports the use of Vitamin D supplements, especially if you're spending more time indoors.
"Getting enough sunlight can help to improve your sleep and general mental health, as well as keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy."
So, what you've probably gathered from the above, is that as well as being a bloody nightmare for society, the economy and our mental health, lockdown measures are also far from conducive to good back health.
Our backs need exercise, variety and Vitamin D - all of which are much harder to come by at the moment.
But you can help yourself by paying heed to the above tips, and hopefully the world - and your back - will be back to normal soon.