Working from home has increased in popularity in recent years. And while it has its advantages, it also comes with some challenges, including aches and pain. These usually occur if you stand or sit for hours. Back, neck, and joint pain are the most common, with four in five people developing musculoskeletal pain when working from home. Lower back pain is usually the most dominant, with many also experiencing frequent headaches. Pain and ache can affect your work productivity, and failing to deal with them can lead to a chronic issue. Here are some effective ways to deal with pain when working from home.
- Set up an ergonomic workspace
The first approach to dealing with aches and pain when working from home is ensuring that your workspace suits you and enhances your comfort. Setting up an ergonomic workspace means that your chair, desk, computer, etc., are positioned in a way that promotes good posture. That helps to reduce the demand and strain on your joints and muscles. For example, your chair height should be just enough to keep your feet flat on the floor when sitting. Your knees should also bend at a 90-degrees angle, with your back straight. And your eyes are at the same level as your computer screen. Your desk should also be high enough for your elbows to rest comfortably.
- Use cold and warm compresses for muscle and joint pain
Pain and inflammation can make it difficult to handle work tasks. But you can use cold and warm compresses to help you deal with them. For acute pain like muscle strain and joint pain, consider applying an ice pack for about 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this several times during the day. A heating pad will work well when dealing with chronic pain like arthritis. You can also consider a warm bath to help soothe muscle and joint pain.
- Stretch and exercise for lower back discomfort
A sedentary lifestyle coupled with sitting for hours can cause your hamstrings to get tight and pull, putting too much strain on your spine. Weakened core muscles (from lack of exercises) can also make you prone to lower back discomfort and pain around your hip area.
Experts advise doing gentle stretches that target your spine to help deal with the pain. It would help if you made exercising a regular part of your day to strengthen your core and muscles.
- Invest in custom orthotics to correct imbalances
When they hear custom orthotics, the first thing many think about is foot pain. While custom orthotics are a wonderful solution for foot pain, it also offers immense benefits for back and joint pain. That’s because orthotics can help you correct imbalances in your posture that may contribute to your back pain. And believe it or not, foot pronation is one of the main causes of back pain, and orthodontics will help you correct it by stabilizing your foot position and improving your posture. This is especially beneficial if your work requires standing for prolonged hours.
- Consider an anti-inflammatory diet to help manage chronic pain
Inflammation is one of the ways your body responds to pain. The swelling, redness, heat, and pain accompanying inflammation can lead to chronic pain issues. Adding more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can be beneficial. For example, fish and any other food that contains omega-3 fats can play a role in reducing inflammation. Apart from fish, some foods rich in omega-3 include chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, Brussels sprouts, and hemp seeds. You can add more antioxidant-rich foods like broccoli, spinach, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, beetroot, radish, avocados, asparagus, cabbage, and artichokes. It’s also not a bad idea to use a lot of spices when cooking if you’re dealing with chronic pain at home.
- Change positions
Sitting or standing in the same position for long hours can worsen your pain. Movement is key to managing your pain and preventing new ones from developing. So, consider changing your position as often as you can. For example, you can spend a few minutes walking around or lying down. Again, try stretching regularly throughout the day to relax your muscles.
- Consult a professional
If your pain persists despite your best efforts, you must seek professional help. You can speak with your doctor, a physical therapist, or a chiropractor to help identify the underlying causes of your pain. This way, you can develop a treatment plan to target those underlying causes. You should seek help immediately if your pain comes with numbness, fever, tingling, or weakness, as these could mean more serious conditions.