It is Back Care Awareness Week next week and the theme of this year’s campaign is Back Pain Working From HomeBCA President, Catherine Quinn shares her thoughts…

“With many people now faced with working from home as their new normal, Back Care Awareness Week (4-8 October) is an important time to check in with how our backs are feeling and take steps to make sure we’re looking after our physical health”.

“Here are my top tips for preventing and easing any aches or pains:

  1. Choose your workspace wisely – working at home means our work set ups vary hugely, depending on each person’s living situation. Some of us may have a home office, but many have needed to improvise. At the start of the pandemic if you made do with a temporary set up, now’s a good time to ask if it’s really working for you. If it’s causing discomfort, try experimenting with working from other areas in your home. If you can, try to avoid working from the sofa or bed, as anything soft won’t support your back properly. Keeping these spaces strictly for relaxation will also help create differentiation between work and leisure time.
  2. Use a chair which has good back support – if you don’t have a desk chair, try sitting with a cushion against the back of your chair and sit with your back fully against it. It’s important not to slouch forward over your desk space, as this will put extra pressure on your upper back. For a great stretching exercise you can do from your chair to reset your posture, check out this tutorial video.
  3. Vary your work position – it’s easy to stay in the same chair all day, but if you start experiencing back pain in any position move to another. Our bodies need variation, so a good trick is to use your kitchen surfaces or an ironing board, so you can work standing up for a while. If aches are ignored when concentrating on work they can develop into more serious pain, so try and nip any aches or tension in the bud.
  4. Move every hour and stretch – with many of us no longer having a commute each day, we may be moving less Monday to Friday. If you’re working from home, try to get up from your workspace for at least five minutes every hour. Particularly with colder months ahead, it may be harder to get out and in the fresh air, but even walking about your own home will make a difference. Try and also do some simple stretches each day to keep your back feeling mobile.
  5. Set a routine – living in such unpredictable times can make it harder to keep motivated and set routines, but try and build in regular breaks and a lunch hour as much as possible in your week. Taking this time in the day for yourself will allow you to check in with your body and see where you may be feeling any tension. You can then take steps to look after your back health, whether that’s stretching daily or changing up your work position.

“Over and above these tips, if you’re ever experiencing persistent back pain or mobility issues in your lower or upper back, you should always seek the advice of a chiropractor, your GP or other health professional.”