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Working from Home During the COVID-19 Era

Many folks have been working from home over the past month and a half, and many of our favorite businesses have shut down.  Gyms, restaurants, movie theatres, schools, and daycares are the places we frequent the most.  Since we’re encouraged to leave our homes only for groceries and essential health services, most of us have been pretty sedentary.

Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle leads to a myriad of health problems.  According to the World Health organization, a sedentary lifestyle leads to an increase in all causes of mortality.  It also leads to double the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. 

In addition to chronic conditions, being sedentary contributes to a number of musculoskeletal conditions including shoulder, hip, neck, mid-back and low back pain.  It’s estimated that up to 80% of people experience low back pain at least once in their lifetime.  Along with pain comes the psychological effects, like depression, grief, and discomfort.  It’s easy to see that sitting around all day, even if you’re working, is not good for your health. How can you get back pain relief?

If you’ve been working from home, think about how much movement you’re getting throughout the day.  You wake up, walk from your bedroom to the kitchen, poor a cup of coffee, then head to your home office to begin the day.  Lunchtime rolls around when you grab a bite to eat, then back to work.  When the day finally ends, you probably go sit at the kitchen table, eat dinner, relax on the couch to unwind, and then off to bed … only to wake up the next day and do it all over again.  This is a typical day for millions of Americans right now.

What’s the answer?

You have to get your body moving and out of the house! Take 30-45 minutes to work out in the morning or afternoon.  This could be a walk or run around the neighborhood, or a series of body weight exercises.  If you’re lucky enough to have a home gym, go ahead and pump some iron.  Mobility is also important! Spend 2-3 minutes every hour stretching. That might seem like a lot, but its only 2-3 minutes, and in reality, if you mute yourself on those conference calls, so you can multitask. 

Spending 2-3 minutes every hour to do some general maintenance on your body will help counteract a lot of the physical stress and achiness you experience while working from home. 

Click here to read more about the relationship between sedentary behavior and back pain, and how you can get back pain relief!

Use these stretches to help release areas of tension:

Hip Stretch:  This exercise will help to stretch the hips.  This one is best performed on a carpeted surface.  Bring your left leg in front of you by externally rotating your hip.  The knee should make a 90-degree angle. Lean forward over your thigh and knee.  You will feel the stretch in your left buttock and the back of your left thigh.  Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.  Make sure to do both sides.

Press Up: This exercise is great to help counteract spinal flexion.  When you sit all day, you put your lumbar spine in a state of flexion and the press up is a great way to extend the spine and low back.  Laying face down on a flat surface perform a partial push up by extending the arms and keeping the hips, thighs and knees on the floor.  Pause and hold at the top for 2-3 seconds and do 2 sets of 8 reps (16 total).  

Trap:  While sitting at your desk take your right hand and hold the left side of your head.  Laterally bend your neck to the right bringing your right ear to your right shoulder.  Hold onto the bottom of your chair with your left hand. Use your right hand to provide a gentle stretch.  Make sure there is no rotation in the neck and your eyes are facing forward.  Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.

Levator Scapula: Just like the trap stretch while sitting at your desk take your right hand and hold the left side of your head.  Rotate your head to the right and bring your nose down into your arm pit. With your opposite hand hold onto the base of your chair. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.

Looking for Back Pain Relief in Ann Arbor?

Structural Chiropractic is a safe and gentle option for individuals dealing with everything from neck and back pain to headaches and acute neuromusculoskeletal injuries.

As an essential service, Pivotal Chiropractic is open and ready to help you during COVID-19. Contact us today to schedule a virtual consultation!

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