Working from Home During COVID-19 Can Lead to Physical Issues
COVID-19 has dramatically changed several aspects of all of our lives, including the typical workday. Many of our physical therapy clients have gotten back a lot of our mornings and evenings they used to have to spend commuting back and forth to work. But, working from home also has its downsides.
Spending long hours sitting in front of a screen, without ergonomic seating can cause a mental and physical toll on the body. Even though our physical therapy offices in Ithaca and Freeville, may be closed at moment, we’re always here to help.
Check out our advice to make the best out of working from home by avoiding some of the common mistakes and injuries that can develop.
Create a Good Environment
If you don’t already have a dedicated workspace at home, you’re not alone! We find that many of our clients at our Ithaca and Freeville physical therapy centers rarely have a dedicated workstation in their homes, much less have a space that’s designed with crucial factors, like your musculoskeletal health, in mind. In a perfect world, we want all our clients to have an ergonomically correct place where they can get their work done quickly and effectively.
Keep Good Posture
It can be tempting to lounge on the couch in our PJs when we’re working from home, but don’t! Good posture is essential for preventing serious injuries like carpal tunnel down the road. When you sit down to work, do a body scan, and keep the following tips in mind.
· We want our backs to want shoulders straight
· The monitor or screen should be centered, eyes directed to the top third of the display around 20-30 inches from the face.
· Our feet should be firmly planted on the floor.
Look for chairs that equipped with back support and padding to ward off lower back pain. The Ithaca area has some excellent office supply stores where you can find adjustable chairs and desks, footrests, documents holders, and headsets.
Schedule in Breaks
Usually, when we’re at the office, there are tons of distractions that keep us active, so we avoid sitting for incredibly long periods. When you’re working from home, we might not have the same level of distraction.
Set a timer, so you’re never sitting for longer than 30 minutes. We like to tell our clients to follow the 20/20/20 Rule of Thumb. Every 20 minutes, pick an object to look at that’s around 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Sitting for long periods of time in front of a screen can cause you to develop eye strain from overuse.
Try incorporating some full body stretches so you can get the blood flowing. We suggest using a combination of wearing a wrist brace, and consistent wrist stretches, to prevent carpal tunnel in the future.
Quarantine Won’t Last Forever.
Working from home has its fair share of plusses and minuses. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it definitely changes our perspective. We can take advantage of the time we get to spend with our families, and also use this as an opportunity to create or update our home office’s or workspaces. Before we know it, life will be back to its regular hustle and bustle.
If you’re noticing uncomfortable aches and pains, don’t hesitate to give Finger Lakes Physical Therapy a call . We’re the first choice for pain relief in Ithaca, Freeville, and Dryden, NY. Take a few of our suggestions to tweak your workflow and your space, so you’ll be in great shape as the Finger Lakes Region reopens.