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Reducing back pain caused by working from home

Many of you will now have been working from home for a large chunk of the year and although you may be getting used to not going in to the office, you may still find yourself with lower back pain that you didn’t have before (or worse pain than before). Back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions, and it can cause disturbances to your work and life.

When you were in the office you may have had physical interventions put in place to ensure you weren’t sitting still for a long period of time e.g. standing desks or ergonomic chairs. Now that you’re at home the likelihood is you don’t have these things in place, and this combined with not commuting and probably not having to climb as many stairs could be causing pain in your lower back.

One thing you can do from home to help with this is to vary your posture throughout the day, which has been shown to reduce shoulder and back pain. This could be a big movement like standing up and taking a couple of steps away from the desk before returning and continuing your work, or a small movement such as crossing and uncrossing your legs. This ensures you are not sitting in the exact same position for too long, as it has been suggested that even holding a ‘good’ sitting position can cause discomfort if held for too long as your muscles fatigue.

To put this into action try setting an alarm to go off at 20 minute intervals to remind you to change position (although probably best to have it as a quiet vibrate rather than a big alarm sound that might throw you off your train of thought!). You can try various positions – cross legged, on a different chair, or with your legs stretched out to the side (improves hip function). Have a stretch if you’re feeling stiff or achy, just a quick touch of the toes and shoulder roll could go long way.