Work Station Setup For Your Back Pain
The first tip is the obvious one, you’re working from home, you’re not going to the office, or maybe you’re just stuck in the house quarantining and you can’t work from home? What are you doing? Well, the big thing for most people, it’s going to be their desk setup.
What are you doing on a daily basis, either going to be working on your computer, if you’re doing work from home, or is going to be watching Netflix, doing those sorts of things, maybe playing video games, or maybe just reading?
How to setup your working from home office with your back health in mind
What can we do to set up our workstation, whether it’s work or not, to really ensure that it doesn’t contribute and slowly build up back pain. Over the next couple of days, we speak to lots of people that are working from home and they’ve maybe been quarantined, or maybe they’re in lockdown right now. And one of the things that often happens is that back pain builds up slowly over a couple of days to a week. And they only know why it the back starting to get a little bit achy is uncomfortable. They don’t really attribute it to this setup. So it’s a really important one. So take some notes when we go through the next little bit.
We’ve got desk height, whether from the kitchen table, or working from our bed, we don’t want to be working from the bed, we don’t want to be working from the sofa, we don’t want to be there for extended periods.
We want the desk, maybe it’s the kitchen table, maybe you’re not fortunate enough to have an office in your own house, you just worked in the kitchen table, that’s going to be a good place to start.
We’ve got the chair, if we’ve got armrests, that’s great. Let’s have the arms at 90 degrees. So arms can hang relax. If we’ve got a computer setup the centre of the screen at eye level, because bad setup is going to contribute to bad posture, which is going to put strain on to our lower back. And what about the setup on the kitchen table itself. If we have the printer on one side, and are going back and forwards left to right, that’s going to give us repetitive strain, we shouldn’t be doing that. I’s going to really grind those discs in the lower lumbar spine and start to become a little bit unhappy, especially if it’s done repetitively.
Leave the printer somewhere else. If you want to use it, get up, walk over there, use it as a break. Remember, we did a full video on this. There’s more details on our YouTube channel on working from home specifically, but you free at home, you don’t have your boss looking over your shoulder. So be flexible. You can move around, you can get up you can take breaks, switch positions, if you’re watching TV or you’re watching your laptop, get up, move around and swap chairs.
The other one if you’re on the laptop or the iPad, go to the living room, go into the kitchen, go to your bedroom, just move around the house a little bit more. Don’t camp out in one room for hours and hours on end. And I know how tempting that can be if you’re watching the crown or something like that on Netflix.
Keeping your back in shape at home doing the general exercise
So now we’re talking about exercise, do your one hour exercise day. That’s your freedom so to speak. But it’s just as important this time even though the weather is not as good for it. Now I always recommend to everyone factor in your exercise every day do before the day starts, don’t say I’ll make time for it. If you’re working, you’ve got busy deadlines or you’re getting caught up in the bits and pieces around the house schedule in the time that you’re going to go out and do that exercise. If you’re a morning person, get it done first thing, if you’re someone who likes doing a little bit later in the day, then schedule it in for three in the afternoon or something like that. But get out and do that exercise. If you’re someone without back pain, and you’re a runner, for example, do those runs if you want to go out and have a walk then that’s fine, too.
What about if you’ve got back pain?
Now if you’ve got back pain, or sciatic pain down the leg, there’s two options we can take. If you are struggling more then we’re going to have tips later on. Take a look at the Back In Shape Program itself. Phase 2 is often a good place to start if you’re not in terrible pain. But let’s say you’re watching this video, you haven’t got any back pain, maybe struggle a little bit towards the end of last lockdown. So this time around, you’re just looking for a workout that you can do that safe, that’s time efficient, we won’t be working out for two, three hours, that’s a little bit excessive for most people and they don’t have the interest for it.
We created the Back In Shape Phase 2 and Phase 3 in particular, Phase 3 is really where you want to be. There are full routines that can take you 15-20 minutes, maybe half an hour tops to go through, they’re safe. They’ll get your heart rate up, they’ll get you working out and burning some calories and feeling good afterwards. And the one most important thing, is that they are safe exercises for you. If you’ve got back pain, last thing you want to be doing is going to do a bunch of press ups and a bunch of setups and rounding your spine.
What’s happening when we’re sat down, we sat in that position, we’re rounding our lower back flattening this curve. So then the one time where you’re going to do your exercises, do we really want to be doing that excessively, flattening this lumbar spine even more? No, we don’t. So doing the right exercises important. And that’s why we created the Back In Shape.
Remember, during the lockdown or quarantine, we’re not exercising, we’re not out and about as much, we don’t have that commute in and out of work, we’re getting the muscles moving, getting the joints moving, etc. Keep these hips flexible. And that means stretching sensibly. That means stretching in a way that stretches the hips without rounding the back. As we just mentioned in the last point, we don’t want to be excessively rounding the back enough that is likely to happen while you’re working or sat down or watching TV. on the sofa, you want to be careful of rounding the back. So these simple stretches a little bit for the hamstrings, some glute stretching, some hip flexor stretching, it’s just going to keep them nice and supple, you could spend 15-20 minutes tow, three times a week. And that’s going to keep those hips nice and mobile. During the lockdown period is important to make sure that when we are doing those hip stretches, we’re not rounding the lower back, we talk about this more in the program.
Phase 1 is the perfect companion for you when stuck at home!
This is going to be a little bit of lower body stretching, we mentioned a moment ago about the hamstring, the glutes and the hip flexors to keep that those hips nice and mobile. While we are a little bit more sedentary compared to normal, that’s going to be really helpful spending maybe 5-10 minutes or so, 15 minutes tops doing that. Keep those hips nice and mobile, then moving on to that towel underneath the lower back to support the natural lordosis to create a bit of arch and help take pressure off those discs. Because it’s the slow consistent process of squashing down those discs every single day that really starts to strain them. So using this towel for three to five minutes will really help unload the spine a little more.
Finally, using a little bit of ice down there, you can use the waistband of your trousers to hold it in place over your low back. And just three to five minutes will work like a charm.
So there you have it, our three step guide to making sure that you don’t get stuck with back pain during this second lockdown. We had a desk setup, what you should be doing on a daily basis, whether you are working from home, whether you’re in quarantine, or whether you’re just at home during this lockdown. We had this specific guidance to do exercise programming it into your day. So it’s done every single day, hey, you could do with getting out the house, just stick up an umbrella if it’s raining. And then number three, which was actually doing a bit of stretching to keep those hips nice and mobile. With that little bonus tip at the end of that small routine, or better yet, join us in the program for full access.