For many, this will be the first time that they’ve worked from home. Many are making do with makeshift workstations and are unable to see their regular Osteopath or Chiropractor.
Why is stretching when working from home important?
It’s a good idea to take frequent breaks if you work on a computer and are sitting down all day. You could harm your eyes, body and even your mental health if you spend the whole day glued to your computer screen. Taking breaks to stretch helps to prevent aches and pains and can boost productivity.
In case you’ve developed back pain from your new workstation (or being overzealous with a Joe Wicks live stream), we spoke to Carla-Maria Hole M.Ost from Bright Osteopathy for her top stretches to help home workers.
Threading the needle
Bring yourself up onto your hands and knees. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your hips over your knees. Take one hand off the floor and reach in and through between your other hand and leg on that side. Allow your shoulder and head to follow, moving down towards the floor as your hand reaches through. Allow your back to twist. You should feel a stretch down your side, your shoulder blade and your neck. Hold and then relax and repeat. Repeat 5 x each side, holding for around 20-30 secs & breathing deeply as you go.
Gluteal stretch – lying down / sitting
Lie on your back and bend both knees up, keeping your feet on the floor.
Cross one leg over the other leg, so that the outside of your ankle is resting on the other knee. Pull your good leg in towards your chest. Use your hands to pull the leg further in towards you. You should feel the stretch in the buttock.
You can adapt this to a seated position (you can do them at your desk!) by crossing one leg over the other so that the outside of your ankle is resting on the other knee. Sit up straight and gently lean forwards. You should feel the stretch in the buttock.
Repeat 5 x each side holding for 30 seconds.
Sit upright in a chair and shrug your shoulders up to your ears, then roll them back and downwards, squeezing your shoulder blades together. You can repeat with your shoulders rolling forwards as well. 10 x rotation (forwards & backwards) both shoulders at the same time.
Lev scap & scalene stretch.
Start in a seated position. Take your hand, place it on your head and gently pull your ear to the side – towards your shoulder and hold for 20seconds. Then angle the head so you’re looking down towards your knee and gently pull the head with comfortable tension – you should feel this stretch more at the back of your neck than the side. Hold for 20secs, repeat 4 x each side.
Stand up straight in a doorway. Place one arm at shoulder height on the door frame. Bend your elbow to 90 degrees so that your forearm runs up the door frame. Place one foot in front and one behind for stability. Keep your spine straight and rotate your body away from the door frame, while gently pushing forwards. You should feel a stretch across the front of your chest, Hold for 20-30secs and repeated 4-5 x each side.
If you work from home, try a DSE assessment…
A DSE assessment will help determine if there are any issues with your current workstation. Having a correctly set up workstation is essential when working from home. An incorrect setup will cause discomfort and could potentially cause injury. Read the government regulations for display screen users here for more guidance.
Online Workstation Self-Assessment: Reusable license (100 uses)£118.80 (incl VAT)
Online Workstation Self-Assessment: Reusable license (50 uses)£59.40 (incl VAT)
Online Workstation Self-Assessment£1.19 (incl VAT)
Tips to prevent back pain when working from home
- Make sure your workstation is set up correctly, even if you’re working from your kitchen table you should be sitting correctly at the right height in a supportive chair.
- Consider an ergonomic chair, if this is not an option use a back support cushion or sitting cushions to give your chair more support if needed.
- Have your screen is at the right, the top of the screen should be in line with your eyebrows.
- Take frequent breaks. HSE recommends taking frequent breaks often.
- Use a footrest if your feet aren’t flat on the floor.
Check out the home working section of our shop to see all the products we would recommend.
Some of our blog posts you might find useful:
- How to protect your back when working from home
- Working from home: How to set up a home office
- Ergonomic essentials for working from home