Tips from a doctor on how to maintain good posture and prevent aches and pains while working from home
Fifth Harmony made working from home sound great, but lounging around on the couch, bed or comfortable location of choice all day can lead to aches and pains when you try to, you know, physically do something.
Enter Dr. Rahul Shah, an orthopedic surgeon at Premier Orthopaedic Associates in south Jersey. Shah, a spine and neck specialist, has some suggestions for anyone who’d rather not be devoured by couch cushions every day.
Take short breaks to get up and walk around every 20-30 minutes
“It’s key. There are things you do at work that you may not do now at home," Shah says. “You’re not even walking into work from the subway. And in the office, you may get up and walk to meet with coworkers to discuss things. All of those are ways where you’re basically getting extra activity.”
Shah suggests taking short breaks every 20-30 minutes, even if it’s just to get up and walk into a different room or to walk up and down the stairs in your apartment building.
Do some stretching
“You want to try and do the opposite action of what you have been doing," Shah says. "Leaning back can work. Try to stretch your hips out. Roll your neck back. Because when you’re sitting down, you’re hunched at your hips and your neck is tilted forward.”
“In stretching, you don’t put a lot of load on your neck and back, but you do prime your muscles,” he adds. "Your muscles have to have enough strength so you don’t strain them doing basic tasks.”
Try to replicate parts of your work environment at home
“If you’re sitting on a stiffer chair and work, and at home you’re on your couch, maybe getting something a little bit stiffer would be something that’ll work for you,” Shah says, though he cautions that this advice is designed to be adaptable: “There’s no one step for everybody. There’s no one magic bullet.”
Practice standard good posture
Shah recommends having your computer at arm’s length, your elbows at 90 degrees, your back at 90 degrees. He says looking down about 10 degrees to the computer is “typically a good place to start.”
A chair is not always better than the bed
“If your chair only has three legs, of course, it’s not the best option," Shah says, proving he’s got jokes as well as good advice. "The best way to choose is to try both out and see which one works best for you. Listen to your body. Your body will say, ‘This was good for me’ or ‘This wasn’t good for me.’ Try one for one day and one for a different day. A little trial and error will give you the best results.”
By Joseph Wilkinson | New York Daily News