How Those Who Work From a Home Office Can Take Care of Their Back
Sitting for long hours at your desk in front of a computer can be extremely hard on your back. For many people who work from their home office or office outside their home, backaches become merely a way of life. Chronic back pain is not only disabling, but can affect the work you do in the office as well as other activities or sports you do outside the office. At the very least, you need to make sure your office chair is at the correct height and that you are sitting well back in the chair. Take regular breaks and get up and stretch; walk around your home or your yard, touch your toes a few times, stretch from side to side, up, and down.
The Importance of the Office Chair
Don't think you can just use any old chair which is lying around your home for your office chair. You need to choose your chair carefully, and plan on spending enough money to buy a higher-quality chair. After all, you will be spending many hours sitting in this chair, so it should be easy on your back.
Adjust the height of the chair so your feet rest comfortably on the floor, thighs horizontal to the floor. If your feet are unable to touch the floor with the chair at its lowest setting, purchase a foot rest. Many newer office chairs have a pneumatic height adjustment, allowing you to adjust the height from a seated position. On an older chair you will be required to stand in front of the chair and rotate the seat clockwise or counter-clockwise in order to adjust the height. When the height of the seat is just below the height of your knee caps, the chair will be the perfect height.
Allowing your feet to dangle from your office chair can cause compression on the backs of your thighs and behind your knees, leading to lower leg discomfort. There should ideally be a space approximately the width of a clenched fist between the back of your knees and the front of the chair. If your chair has the capability, tilt the seat forward to help relieve pressure. Once at your desk, your chair needs to be adjusted to accommodate your desk or other work surface. Adjust the backrest on your office chair so that it supports the lower back lumbar area. This is probably the most important contact point, so make sure the backrest is adjusted correctly. Some backrests can either be moved forward or backwards.
Other Back Helpers
When you are getting in and out of your bed, make sure you lean forward from your hips, not from your back; push your upper body off the bed using your elbows and hands to bear your weight, and swinging both legs smoothly to the floor. Once both your feet are firmly on the floor, stand straight, trying not to bend from the waist. If you sleep on your back, either bend your legs or use pillows under your knees, and never, ever, sleep on your stomach.
A firm mattress is best for back pain, and it is recommended that you rotate your mattress at least every three months. When getting in and out of your car, bend at the knees and hips rather than the back, and try not to twist at your waist. Use both arms and legs for assistance when raising and lowering you in and out of your car, and be conscious of keeping your body aligned.
The best back care relies on prevention rather than treatment after the fact, however if your back is stiff and sore from too many hours in front of your computer, ibuprofen can help. Work at strengthening your back so the constant sitting is not so detrimental, not to mention painful.