CHICAGO (CBS) — Stuck at home – and in pain?
It could be how you have set up your workspace. Bad posture might have been an issue when we first headed indoors, but now, the pandemic is stretching toward months away from the office.READ MORE: Neighbors Help Each Other Dig Out, Plows Get To Work On Side Streets After Lake Effect Snowstorm
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory found a few simple hacks to avoid back and neck pain.
From complicated to cozy, for many, suddenly working from home not only required a shift in mentality, but also a change, physically.
“In about three weeks, I was crushed,” said Margaret Domin.
You’d normally find Domin at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue. The Cook County assistant public defender stands, rather than sits, at her desk to relieve back issues.
But now, she said, “In this even more stressful environment – we’re trying to really work for my clients at the highest level – I began experiencing this excruciating pain again.”
Desperate, Domin tried to replicate her office at home with a mat and some old shoeboxes.
“I’m back on medication, which I’m not happy about,” she said.
Domin is also back in physical therapy at NovaCare Rehabilitation, under the care of experts like Julia Plautz.
“Light that is close to the computer screen will cause glare and that will cause visual strain on your computer screen,” Plautz said.
We asked Plautz to analyze some work-from-home setups sent in by viewers.READ MORE: Chicago First Alert Weather: Clearing Skies, Wind Chills Bring Sub-Zero Feels-Like Temps
“We always want both feet to be on the ground if possible,” she said.
Even the cutest workspaces – including one where a woman was sitting with a dog on her lap, had issues.
“Her shoulders are rounded very, very forward,” Plautz said.
Our CBS 2 essential workers showed what most of us experience in an office – desktop monitors at eye level while typing away below.
The problem is that at home, most people use laptops.
“Our bodies come forward, so we kind of slouch like this and come really close to the screen, and that puts undue stress on our low back and on our neck,” Plautz said.
Finding random objects to raise your laptop can help your posture, but typing with the laptop raised could cause a mess of other issues – so try using a separate keyboard.
No matter your tools, Plautz said, think about life back on the job. Pausing for a trip to the refrigerator or taking a walk to the bathroom gives our muscles a rest.
“It will make you feel a lot better,” Plautz said.
And that is a good excuse to take a break from whatever work looks like right now.MORE NEWS: Businessman, Longtime Arlington International Racecourse Owner Dick Duchossois Dies
Take those breaks at least once an hour. You should get up and move around for at least five minutes at a time.