The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in more people working from home than ever before. In April 2020, 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home. I have been working from home since March 2020. Whilst there are elements of it I like, it can also be quite uncomfortable for my back. I’ve therefore done a bit of research and found some products and ideas that might help to ease back pain when working from home.
As we head into 2021, it looks like home-working is not going anywhere. In a survey of close to a thousand company directors, nearly three quarters (74%) said they would be keeping increased home-working after coronavirus.
If you have tried any of the below, or have any other ideas of things that might help ease back pain when working from home, let me know in the comments below
Note – I am not a medical professional and would always advise seeking advise from a H&S specialist. Some of the suggestions in this post I have tried myself, some of them I haven’t – yet. I cannot guarantee these ideas will all work for everyone.
NB – This post contains affiliate links.
1. Sit/Stand Desk
Studies show that adjustable desks can improve work performance, by reducing sitting time. I’ll be honest and say that I have not tried a sit/stand desk. They do intrigue me though and I’ve thought about them more since working from home.
Sitting down all day makes my back pain worse, so I try to get up regularly for breaks. I think for me, standing up all day would also cause pain. A good possible solution therefore, would be a desk that you can adapt throughout the day for sitting and standing.
I would recommend doing research if a sit/stand desk is of interest. There are many available and they can be pricey. Some desks can be manually adjusted and others have motors to adjust automatically, like the example below.
If I decide to take the plunge and give one of these a try, I’ll be sure to write a review on my blog and let you know how I get on.
2. Laptop Riser
This is a simple but effective one, and obviously only valid if you use a laptop whilst working from home. I do and it quickly became apparent that without a laptop riser, working from home was a real pain in the neck – literally!
After working from home for several weeks, I began to get bad neck and upper back pain. I realised it was from looking down at my laptop, instead of having it at eye level where it should be. If you work from home using a laptop and don’t have a laptop riser, get one. It will make a huge difference trust me. The one I have is below.
3. A Decent Chair
I’m lucky as my employer bought me a decent chair prior to the pandemic and I was allowed to take it home. If you have a back condition like scoliosis, you need a decent chair. Ideally you should have a H&S professional assess the type of chair you need. If you don’t have that luxury, research the best chairs for reducing back pain and treat yourself. Or if you can, ask your employer to purchase it for you. Having a good chair makes a huge difference, especially if you are sat in it for 8+ hours everyday.
4. Laptop Bed Table
If sitting at a desk all day is painful, you could try a laptop bed table. This will enable you to work from the comfort of your bed or sofa. I haven’t tried one of these myself but I thought it looked like a good idea for bad pain days. Or if wanted a break from sitting at my desk.
5. Memory Foam Support Cushion
I generally work with a memory foam cushion behind my lower back. This helps to keep me upright and reduce pain. I would recommend the same if you have scoliosis and definitely if you’ve had spinal fusion. Many chairs just don’t fit the shape of my back. So having a cushion placed behind my lower back helps to provide much needed support. You could also use a memory foam cushion to sit on, which may help relieve pressure on your legs if sitting for long periods.
6. Desk Treadmill
This is not something I have tried but it is something I have thought about throughout 2020. In particular, to help with the lack of movement associated with working from home.
Of course, you could also get a regular treadmill or try to walk before/after work or on your lunch break. Sometimes though, it’s not always that simple. Meetings and workload can prevent you from taking those much needed walk breaks.
I have struggled more recently with the winter months. I’m not a fan of walking alone in the dark and so with the gyms closed, I treated myself to this foldable treadmill.
I did look into desk treadmills though and this may be a viable option for the future.
7. Back Support
If you are sitting all day and suffering from lower back pain, you could consider trying a back support. There are many types available. I have not tried one of these myself so I’m not sure how effective they are. I do have an Active Posture shirt however, which helps to support my back muscles when I am sat down all day.
8. Heat Pad
I have been known to tuck a hot water bottle down the top of my trousers to soothe lower back pain. This did work but it would move around a lot and wasn’t very comfortable when trying to work.
Recently, I have invested in a wrap around hot water bottle (like the one below). It’s a real game changer. I’m not sure how or why I haven’t bought one of these sooner, a real must if you have scoliosis. There are many other options available, like heated clothing, blankets and heat pads.
9. Core Workout Equipment
A strong core can help to reduce back pain in many cases, especially when working from home. To be honest, you don’t need any equipment for this – perhaps just a yoga mat.
Fitting in some Yoga or Pilates into your daily routine can help ease back pain if done regularly. It may even be easier to fit in during the day if you are working from home. Check out Yoga for Adrienne or Yogaberry Scoliosis on Youtube for some inspiration.
10. Fitness Tracker
Fitness trackers can be useful when working from home. They count your steps, which can make you realise how little you are moving when working from home! This is good though, as you can set daily steps targets to motivate yourself.
They can also be set up to alert you when you haven’t moved for a while. This can act as a useful reminder to get up and move around.
I myself have a Garmin fitness watch as I like to run. There are many available though at different price ranges to suit your individual use cases.
These are just a few ideas of products and ideas that may help those with chronic back pain when working from home. Is there anything missing?
Let me know your own suggestions in the comments below 🙂