Working from home can be a right pain in the neck, back and wrists. It can create a ball of pain in the shoulders, and you’ve had enough.
In the last few blogs, I’ve shared exercises for the golfer, runner and tennis player but on our Facebook page, we had a request for the home worker. Those of you still at your kitchen table, sitting on unsuitable chairs and working from home. Although, pains at the desk are NOT limited to home workers or those without a workspace.
It’s been over a year since we went into the first lockdown here in the UK and many of you are still working from home. While this has benefits, such as the commute is much shorter, providing you more time with your family or for exercising, it can be a pain in the neck.
Last year (2020), there was a considerable increase in work-related musculoskeletal conditions and in one survey 81% of homeworkers experienced neck, back or shoulder pain.
So, what can you do to improve your home working experience?
Leaving your workspace/desk for breaks will make a huge difference. So, no more eating at your desk. Instead, take a walk to stretch those legs and to get some fresh air. A thirty-minute walk every day can do a lot to strengthen your lower back and the muscles that support your spine, which will help.
Walk around the house or garden (if the weather allows) stand when you make or receive a call on the phone.
Stretches are a beautiful way of creating a few mindful moments and will do your body a world of good! Why not give these a try, some of my favourites:
Office Stretch, Upward Stretch
Place your hands behind your head at the base of your skull to help lengthen your spine upward as you breathe in. Hold for a count of one-two-three and breathe out. Then raise your arms overhead as you breathe in and hold for a count of three, then breathe out as you lower the arms down by your side. Repeat between five and ten times.
This is a lovely stretch and not just for those hunched over the desk. Sit or stand tall and elevate your shoulders as much as possible (up by your ears), then bring them back as far as they will go and finish by lowering them in a good posture. Repeat between five and ten times.
Plantar Fascia Release
Sit on a straight back chair with one foot on a tennis ball, the other foot flat on the floor and your back in a neutral position (slightly arched). Roll the ball under the arch of your foot from heel to toes. Repeat between five and ten times on each side.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
A truly fabulous stretch and one of my faves. Simply tuck your chin slightly and keep your spine tall, then with your arms relaxed by your side squeeze your shoulder blade together. Then gently relax the position and repeat between five and ten times.
Seated Cat and Camel
Sit up nice and tall in your chair with your back away from the backrest and place your hands on your knees. Bring your chin down to your chest and slowly round out your back until you feel a gentle pull in your back. Hold for five seconds then slowly arch your back until you feel a gentle pull in your stomach or until you feel a slight tension in your lower back again hold for five seconds. Alternate between these two positions for one minute.
Neck Decompression Stretch
Stand or sit and place your hands on your neck, just below the base of the skull and as you take a breath in bend your neck slightly backwards. Then exhale slowly as you lift up gently the head to decompress the neck. Repeat five to ten times, depending on the time you have but at least five times.
To improve your home working experience:
- Set boundaries and stick to them.
- Dress for the day to help you distinguish between the start and finish
- If you don’t have the luxury of office space, put away your work at the end of the day.
- Take breaks, drink plenty of fluids and stay in touch with your colleagues.
- Stretch several times during the day to release the tension you are holding.
While we can’t help you create the perfect space to work or carry out an assessment of your workspace, we are here for you. Whether you need physio or just an excellent massage to work out the knots in your shoulders, call 01722 415 055 to make an appointment.