It’s become a new normal for many people during the pandemic, setting up shop at home. But, there are some health effects that come when your home also becomes your office.
One doctor showed NBC 6 anchor Sheli Muniz what happens to your body when you WFH, along with some simple stretches to help.
“Working from home is certainly different than anything we’re used to doing.,” said Baptist Health Sports Medicine Physician, Dr. Michael Swartzon.
Except by now, many people working from home are kind of getting to use to it, for better or worse.
It has benefits. It’s convenient, there is no commute and productivity tends to be up, but with it comes some tradeoffs.
Dr. Swartzon says two of the most common complaints he's heard are people's necks and backs. He says many people have turned anything from their dining room tables to their bed into an office.
“From the side, there’s a curvature so a lot of people say that you’re supposed to sit up completely straight. No, your back has a little low curve and you’re supposed to keep that so it's not hunched over, it’s the normal curvature of your back,” said Dr. Swartzon as he showed us with a spine model.
So, position your computer at a level where you won’t hunch over. Dr. Swartzon also says he is seeing more elbow injuries.
Using an elbow model, Dr. Swartzon said, “The outside of your elbow goes to an extensor group and attaches all the way down to your wrist. So if you’re sitting and your hand is always on your mouse, you’re constantly firing up this muscle and that’s causing a lot of pressure here.”
It’s also known as Tennis Elbow.
Here are some pointers from Dr. Swartzon:
“If you now have to work your back or neck muscles in a different way when you’re not working, you should spend more time strengthening and stretching those muscles, tenants and ligaments so they can do what you’re asking it to do the human body is very adaptable.”
Some simple stretches can be:
Wrist extensor stretches:
3 sets for 10 secs, twice a day
Extend your arm in front of you and point your fingers to the floor. With the other hand, bend the wrist farther to stretch your forearm.
Cervical Neck Rolls:
While seated, drop your ear to shoulder for 5 secs, roll neck forward and do the other side.
3 sets for 5 seconds, twice a day.
Seated Low Back:
While seated, reach your hands for the floor and hold for 10 seconds, a few times a day.
Some easy at-home relief while you are home working anyway. Remember to always consult with your doctor.
- Take breaks every 30 minutes
- Set a timer to help get you up and moving
- Fill up your coffee just a quarter of the way so you’re forced to get up and get more
- Don’t position your screen right in view of sunlight to avoid glare on your screen and eye troubles
- If you use a standing desk, only about 20-30% of the work day.