Protecting Your Spine: Tips for Working from Home through COVID-19

By the rediscover Patient Education Team


The COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly changed work life as we know it. Most individuals are finding themselves suddenly working from home. To be productive while at home, it is important to ensure that you are working safely and effectively. Here are some work-from-home tips for success.

 

Create a Dedicated Office Space

Although convenient, working from home has many distractions and can put a strain on you physically. Creating a dedicated office space away from the busiest part of your home will allow you to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. Also, make sure your dedicated space is ergonomically-sound to keep your eyes, neck, and back out of harm’s way.

 

Work Near Natural Light

Position your workspace near a natural light source. Working near natural light promotes productivity and has several physical benefits. According to a study by Cornell University1, working near natural light allows for an 84 percent drop in headaches, eye strain, and blurred vision as compared to artificial light.

 

Practice Good Posture

Sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time can result in physical strain on the body. Consider alternating between a sitting desk and a standing desk to reduce strain, strengthen your core, and reduce overall sitting time.

When on a phone call or conference call, avoid holding the phone between your neck and shoulder by using a speakerphone or earbuds to prevent neck strain and shoulder cramps.

Physical strain and back pain may stem from incorrect or poor posture. Ensure good posture and correct alignment by practicing posture exercises such as shoulder blade squeezes and chin tucks.

 

Design an Ergonomic Work Area

Ensure that your home office is ergonomically arranged with an eye-level monitor and supportive office chair. When sitting in your chair, incorporate low-back support. This can be done with a lumbar support pillow or a rolled-up bath towel. To do this, roll up a towel into a log-like form, and place it horizontally in the small of your low back while you are sitting in your office chair. This will remind you to sit up straight because slouching won’t allow the support to stay in the proper place.

 

Take Regular Breaks

A proven tip to increase productivity is to schedule breaks throughout your workday. Exercise can increase cognitive function and attention, so use this time to stretch, go for a walk, or a bike ride. Sitting for prolonged periods of time may cause you some back discomfort, so a couple of breaks throughout the workday is good practice.

 

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated throughout a busy day can be challenging. Keep water, juice, or tea near your desk to remind you to sip it throughout the day. Aim to get 60 ounces or more of water or other liquids throughout your workday.

 

1 See http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/lighting/lilstudy/lilstudy.htm.


Important Note: The patient information presented is for general education purposes only. As with any spine surgery, there are potential benefits, complications, and risks associated with disc replacement and spinal fusion procedures. Individual results may vary. It is important that you discuss the possible risks and potential benefits of various procedures with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician’s best judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for a specific surgical procedure.

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