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Your Healthy Family: Transforming at-home work space to avoid aches & pains

Posted at 8:59 AM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 08:59:43-05

With COVID-19 cases surging, many people are going back to working from home. While you might enjoy sitting on your couch while working, this can lead to aches and pains. A chiropractor has some tips on how to transform your work space and keep your body pain-free.

Dr. Drew Schwartz from the Cleveland Clinic said a good chair, a laptop stand and an external keyboard can help prevent the pain in your head, neck and wrists that often comes with working from home. He also said it's important to lean back.

"Sitting with our back all the way to the back rest and having that at 100 or 110 degrees is so much better than sitting straight up, because it offloads the discs, the facets, and it takes a lot of the strain off those paraspinal muscles — the big, meaty muscles of the back that hold us up all day," Dr. Schwartz said.

He said your bed or couch don’t provide enough support, and working from those places could leave you feeling tight, stiff or achy. A poor work space can also lead to numbness or tingling in your hands and headaches.

Dr. Schwartz said to look for a chair that’s highly adjustable, with a mesh back for breathability. If you’re shorter, get a footrest. To avoid neck pain, he said your head should be upright. He recommends using a laptop stand or books to bring your computer to eye level, and use an external keyboard so you can position your wrists the right way.

"If I'm getting numbness and tingling that I haven’t had before, if I’ve had numbness and tingling and now it’s getting even worse, if I’m having headaches that are always towards the end of the day, or having tightness in my back that’s always towards the end of the day, that tells me that there’s some ergonomic issues going on and contributing to that pain,” Dr. Schwartz said.

He said its important to take multiple breaks and do some simple stretches while working from home to keep blood flowing to your muscles.