Reviewed by: Dr. Yasmin Rahimi
Whether you’ve always worked from home or you’re newly working from home due to the stay-at-home orders, or you’re in self-quarantine from the Coronavirus, here are some tips to help keep your back pain-free.
Looking for some workout hints? Go to the 3rd page of the article.
1. The ideal desk and chair
It may feel great to work on your laptop from the couch or bed, but couches have very poor back support and the bed has almost none. If you’re leaning against your headboard, your bed will also force you to put your legs out in front of you, potentially hurting your low back and neck even more.
Laptops can be problematic for back pain. Ideally, you should have a desktop computer setup at home with an ergonomic chair. And most desks are too tall, making you rest your wrist or forearms on the edge of the desk. We highly recommend that you invest in yourself with:
- A desk with an optimal height, less than 6 inches from your thighs
- A chair with ergonomic support but no arm rests
When sitting up straight, ideally your elbows should be at 90 degrees from the desktop, but not higher. You should be reaching slightly forward toward your keyboard. Your forearm and wrists should not be resting on the desk.
But why no arm rests? Arm rests often force your elbows and shoulders up, causing issues into your neck. Adjust your arm rests to the lowest setting if possible, or remove them if it’s possible.
If you do not have a great ergonomic desk and chair:
- Roll up a bath towel and place it in the small of your back
- If your chair is adjustable, raise it upward more
- Rest both feet flat on the ground
Note that the towel should be in the small of your back, not at the base of your spine or resting on the chair. The towel will help you engage your core to help you sit up straighter by forcing your lower back forward.
If your feet do not reach the ground, a foot rest or a couple of thick, hard-cover books under your feet can help.