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Unless you’re an essential worker, you’re probably working from home right now. And, while that’s a convenience at a time when going out in public isn’t recommended, it’s not so easy on your back.
It’s not just you—plenty of other people are feeling the pain, too:
My top working from home discovery, tested out over several years of PhD-ing and now confirmed through quarantine – never work where you sleep! It seems like a great idea at first but things rapidly descend into hours of nothing and back pain 🙃
— Bobby (@bobbypsmith1986) April 7, 2020
Grateful for the opportunity to work from home. Not grateful for this back pain from our kitchen chairs lmao.
— Sabas (@sabas95) April 3, 2020
Taking a lunch break nap cause your back pain is so bad from not having a proper work chair while working from home so you’re effin exhausted… #JustQuarantineThings
— RachelSempleDrummond (@RachelSimpleD) April 2, 2020
Part of the problem is the change from your usual routine, Neel Anand, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Working from your kitchen table, sofa, or bed, can be tough for your back to get used to, he explains. “If you normally sit down when you work, if it’s feasible, it makes sense to try to recreate those ergonomics at home,” Anand says.
Working from your bed, couch, or kitchen table is also pretty bad for your back in general. “Not all of those things are set up for good posture for the neck or lumbar spine,” Jessalynn Adam, MD, an orthopedist with Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
That’s why Adam recommends finding a seat that provides good support to your lumbar spine, i.e. your lower back. “One way to do this is to find a chair that provides lumbar support,” she says. “If you don’t have that option, you can get a lumbar roll. That allows you to convert any chair into a chair with good lumbar support.”
Once you find the right chair or chair support, you also need to make sure you’re sitting in it the right way. “If you can, have your feet flat on the floor,” Adam says. “Your knees should be at 90 degrees, and you should have support on the small of your back.” It’s also important to get up and move every 30 minutes or so, she adds.
There are a few exercises you can do to help your back and posture, too. Adam recommends rolling out your head and neck regularly to loosen those muscles. Doing the yoga posses downward and upward dog can help, too, she says, noting that upward dog in particular “stretches the muscles that are shortened when we sit.” A corner wall stretch, where you stand near a corner, put your arms up like a field goal and, with each arm on a wall, step closer to the corner, can also help stretch out your chest after sitting for long periods of time, Adam says.
Got a WFH seating arrangement that’s just not working for you? Here are a few options to consider:
The Draper office chair is a good option when you want an office chair that can also double as pretty decor. Like most office chairs, it has a height-adjustable seat and good lumbar support, but pretty polyester fabric upholstery and silver nail head accents elevate the overall look. The seat comes in a slow of different prints, including one emblazoned with funky eyeglasses and a cowhide print.
Shop it: Draper Office Chair, $195.50 with promo code APRIL (was $230), target.com
The Penkridge office chair has a contemporary vibe thanks to its sleek silhouette. It’s covered in a padded, channel-tufted upholstery, and has an arched backrest for lumbar support. The seat’s gently-contoured bottom gives you added comfort and support. It also has a lever-operated pneumatic lift column, so you can easily adjust the height.
Shop it: Penkridge Office Chair, $80, wayfair.com
Mind Reader’s back support cushion has lot going for it. The cushion has ergonomic streamlining that essentially hugs your back for optimal lumbar support. It also has an adjustable strap to allow you to hook the pillow on to a chair and then move it up or down, depending on your needs. The cushion’s breathable mesh design helps keep you from getting sweaty while you use it.
Shop it: Mind Reader Memory Foam Lumbar Support Back Cushion, $29, staples.com
This executive office chair has the classic look and feel you expect with an upscale office chair. A leather-look covering and smooth seating gives the chair an upscale feel, and the padded back and seat give comfy support. A hidden lever allows you to easily adjust the seat’s height.
Shop it: Executive Office Chair Black, $139, target.com
Lumbar pillows don’t have to be basic. This one from Opalhouse doubles as pretty decor to elevate your couch or bed when you’re not using it for work. The pillow fits comfortably into the small of your back to add support to a kitchen chair or easy chair.
Shop it: Opalhouse Lumbar Pillow, $30, target.com
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