Expert Tips for Taking Care of Your Joints While Work from Home
Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus earlier this year, people have to adjust to a new way of living and working. With millions of Americans now working or studying primarily from home with regulations and social distancing in place, it is not just a mentally damaging experience, but it can also lead to physical effects as well. Especially if you are unsure how to manage your arthritis while work from home guidelines are active.
Knowing how to keep your joints healthy during working from home is vital right now as some people might not be fortunate to have adequate space at the minute, while access to a physical therapist or doctor may be impossible. With many people now sitting at a kitchen table to work or spending more of their time being less active, you may quickly find that areas in your back, hands and joints are starting to aching.
According to the Institute of Employment Studies, there has been a significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints that correlates to more people working from home on a regular basis. This includes new aches and pains, especially in the neck, shoulder and back as well as accentuating existing issues that have been caused by arthritis while other common complaints may include pain in the wrist, forearm, hips and legs.
At MyArthritisRx, we look to help you alleviate and reduce the impact that this pain can have through an arthritis self-management program. An innovative self-care solution to get healthy and manage your knee arthritis at home.
With this in mind, here are some simple tips and tricks you can do in your everyday life to manage your arthritis while work from home restrictions remain in place looking forward.
Designate an Area
Working from home every day may be an entirely new experience for many of us. This can be problematic if you’re used to working in an office with a specific set up and then are forced to create your own at home almost overnight. The equipment, layout and environment you're working in will be completely different, and will likely be sharing it with other family members. Here are some ways you can form your own workspace that won’t put your joints under too much pressure:
- ● Have a dedicated work area that limits distractions and is away from any areas that other people are working in.
- ● Make sure there is adequate lighting, a comfortable chair and desk that offers ergonomic support with your monitor or laptop set up at the right height to avoid getting regular neck pains.
- ● Avoid working from a soft surface that offers no support like your bed or on the couch. While it may seem comfortable, the lack of support will lead to aches and pains.
- ● Use cushions or other methods of support to ensure your chair is comfortable and at the right height. An alternative to this is to alter the height of the computer screen.
- ● Focus on your posture. Avoid spending prolonged periods in the same position. Bad posture over a long period of time will increase the risk of neck, back and joint while also affecting your sleep pattern.
- ● If you’ll be working from home for a while, look to purchase an external keyboard and headset. While laptops are great for convenience, they are less than ideal for your postural ergonomics. Keyboards that can change angles or tilt are good options for avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome while a headset can avoid improper shoulder and wrist positioning that can lead to aches.
Don’t Get Stuck In One Place
Not being active when working from home or putting off your home exercises for arthritis is a lot easier given the current climate. Meetings now take place virtually and people can end up sitting at a desk for longer periods of time. Humans are designed to move, and this is particularly important for our joint health so here are some things you can do to help:
- ● Take time to get up from your chair at least every hour to move, stretch, perform some exercises and take a break from your computer screen.
- ● Find time to exercise, even if it’s indoors to remain active. It’s easy to become sedentary and eat unhealthy food so look to avoid these bad habits.
- ● Step away from the screen for a bit. If you have to be on your computer or phone all day, take a few minutes to rest your eyes and mentally recharge.
- ● For ideas on exercising, check out MyArthritisRx for specific exercises to help manage the pain.
Break Throughout The Day
Frequent breaks are crucial right now. Try to take a break every hour to give you and your family the chance to refocus your mind and avoid burnout. People often feel the need to overwork themselves when at home so remember to take time for yourself throughout the day. Stretching during this time is encouraged to increase blood flow, reduce the stiffness of muscles, reset postural habits and prevent chronic issues from developing. Yoga and meditation are also great ways to help decompress and relax and can be easily done in a home setting.
Consult a Doctor
Even though it may be a busier time for doctors at the minute, if you are struggling with pain, especially as it relates to your joints when working from home, it’s important to consult with doctors and physicians about any problems you have. Remember, even though it might seem like a minor issue right now, it can quickly lead to much bigger consequences if not properly treated in an appropriate time. Consulting with doctors and experts is a never a bad idea, no matter what your concerns may be.
When people sit for long periods of time, as they do when working from home, certain muscle groups like our core can easily disengage, which leads to knock on effects that cause hip, back and knee pain. Also, carpal tunnel can affect the fingers and neck pain can quickly become prevalent. Therefore, it’s important to follow some of the tips listed in this post as well as go along with some of the carefully designed exercises on the MyArthritisRx website. People who are suffering from arthritis pain can also enroll on our website to join arthritis self-management program free of cost.