6 of the Most Common Injuries from Working at Home
You’ll be surprised to know that working at home doesn’t completely protect us from injuries and that numerous musculoskeletal issues can arise from improper sitting postures. While chiropractors recommend we sit in positions that are most comfortable to our taste due to our unique bodies, we often overlook their advice and settle for the wrong work at home setup. Sometimes, we even resort to working on our sofas and beds.
These decisions result in poor ergonomics and a reduction in both comfort and productivity. To help you understand what you’re at risk of, here’s 6 of the most common injuries from working at home:
Hunching over laptops forces your head and neck to move forward as opposed to its natural (or neutral) position over the body. This means that your neck will have to exert more effort to keep your head upright to focus on your task. You may not mind it now, but doing this for an extended time will eventually strain your neck muscles and potentially open yourself up to other risks in the future.
This is the second injury stemming from hunching over our laptops. While it’s normal to have a slight outward curve in your upper back, slouching will force your upper back to curve further than it’s supposed to which will strain the muscle fibers, similar to what happens when you tilt your head forward.
This is another injury caused by hunching over. However, shoulder pain can also be caused by positioning your laptop too high. Firstly, shoulder pain will come along with back pain because curving your upper back entails curving your shoulders as well, drifting away from its natural alignment with your torso. Second, placing your laptop higher than it’s supposed to be will force your arms to rest on a higher platform, raising and flexing your shoulder muscles which introduces tension that will slowly build up down the line.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In addition to keeping it at a proper height, it’s also important to position your laptop directly in front of you to avoid injury, more specifically carpal tunnel syndrome. Not doing so will cause you to bend your wrists instead of keeping them neutral on your desk or keyboard. This puts pressure on your nerves, too much of which can weaken or cause numbness in your hands, the main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Also known as “tennis elbow”, this is when muscle or tendon pain develops in your elbow due to overuse. Be mindful not to position your mouse too far away because by constantly reaching out for your mouse and bending your arm back to type on your keyboard, you continually introduce friction to your elbows and eventually straining them.
Your hips are not meant to be bent at a 90-degree angle for long periods, and keeping them bent this way for too long will make them tight and eventually lead to pain in the lower back as well. With that said, it’s important to keep in mind that their natural position is to be relaxed and open even when you’re sitting down. This can be accomplished by reclining your back at a slight angle, but the wrong chair can make this hard to do.
Even if you don’t mind poor ergonomics at the moment, keep in mind that the mild discomforts and annoyances will gradually grow more painful and distracting if you don’t take the important steps to correct the mistakes. Investing in the right office setup for your taste doesn’t just improve your comfort at the moment, it improves your overall physiological health down the line as well.