Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we have been working from home en masse. This prevents additional infections and offers many an opportunity to be more flexible with their work. Unfortunately, working from home also comes with a serious disadvantage: it is bad for your back and shoulders. According to physiotherapist and sports scientist Einte Rinsma, the number of people with arm, neck, and back problems has grown considerably since we started working from home.

A bad attitude

Prevent Back Problems1Many people do not have a good workplace at home. Their laptop is either too high or too low, the chair is not designed for prolonged sitting and many people adopt the wrong position while working. That in itself is not bad, says physiotherapist and ergonomics advisor René Mol, but about 90% of homeworkers spend at least 6, or even 8 hours in a bad posture behind the computer. That's where it goes wrong.

According to Mol's estimate, we sit still for about 12 hours a day, including our free time. However, our muscles are not built for this. Your entire condition and circulation will deteriorate as a result. While you still walk around the office to a meeting, or to grab some coffee, we often sit in one place at home and only get out of it when the working day is over.
According to the TNO, many home workers need additional tools to set up their work as well as possible. While many companies do offer this option, few people have taken advantage of it yet. This is partly because many people thought they would soon have to travel to work again.

How do you optimally set up your workplace for working from home?

Prevent Back Problems2René Mol suspects that not everyone with complaints immediately goes to a physiotherapist, but instead takes a painkiller and continues to work. According to Mol, it often helps to counteract complaints by making small changes to your workplace, even if you have a small home.

1. Switch positions regularly

By regularly changing positions, your muscles remain active and you also activate different muscle groups. This helps your blood flow and maintains your fitness. You can purchase a sit-stand desk for this, or an attachment for your dining table. Sitting on the edge of your seat also helps.

2. Adopt a stable attitude when working from home

Place your feet on the floor when you sit and make sure they can stand flat. Your back should be well supported by a backrest and your arms should be at approximately a 110-degree angle. Your wrists should also not have too much freedom of movement. Only 5 degrees is sufficient for this.

3. Move more

Take regular short breaks of a few minutes. Walk around your house, stretch your legs, or take a short walk outdoors. By staying in motion, you keep your muscles active and less likely to get stuck. A breath of fresh air can also help if you suffer from a blockage in your work.

4. The best display for working from home

The screen of your computer or laptop is often a lot lower than where our eyes look straight ahead. In an ideal situation, your screen is positioned in such a way that you do not have to nod your head downwards because that is how you secure your cervical vertebrae.

And if you do have problems with your neck, back, or shoulders?

Then you shouldn't keep it warm, says Einte Rinse. Many pain complaints are caused by small inflammations that get worse with heat. It is best to cool the spots. Cooling for twenty minutes, resting for twenty minutes, and then cooling for another twenty minutes will help to drain the inflammation and relieve the pain. In case of prolonged pain, it is wise to see a physiotherapist.

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