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Keys to setting-up your work-from-home space to avoid back, arm pain

Posted at 2:17 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 13:38:15-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Makeshift home workspaces are becoming more permanent for a lot of workers. Incorporating some office ergonomics can help avoid some aches and pains.

Occupational therapist Corinne McLees, MS, OTR/L, of My Virtual OT, sees clients remotely to help them get their home office set up.

"Having good ergonomics means having good body position while you're working," she said. "This can not only reduce pain or office injuries but it's also been proven to increase efficiency and effectiveness while you're working."

Monitor height is one of the first things you should consider, she said, with the top of your screen right at eye level.

"A good way of measuring this is when you close your eyes and then open them your gaze should actually fall right on the search bar," McLees said.

A simple way to fix monitor height is to boost it with books.

If you're using a laptop, boosting the monitor could also raise the keyboard, straining your wrist and shoulders.

"One of the first things that I noticed when we started working from home a lot was just that upper trap getting super knotted and tight and you're like, 'what's going on?'" McLees said. "We realized our mouse was really, really high up and When it's really high up you're hiking your shoulders and that's putting a lot of strain on your neck and shoulder muscles."

Her advice is to relax your shoulders and make sure your elbows are right by your side. She also said an external keyboard or keyboard tray would help.

To avoid lower back strain, you need lumbar support.

McLees said most home chairs don't have built-in lumbar support. But putting a pillow behind your back is a simple fix. Any pillow will do, but McLees said there are some specialized memory foam pillows on the market that will attach to your chair.

You can find more information here.