With lockdown measures still prevalent across the country, many are working from home. If you are working at home with arthritis, you will want to make sure you are doing what you can to reduce the aches you get due to flareups. Your workspace at home should be designed in a way that helps you protect your joints and the muscles surrounding them. Even if this will be a temporary workspace, you should ensure that you do everything you can to give yourself the relief you deserve.
COVID-19 has changed how many people work. You may have noticed that your makeshift workspace at home is not as comfortable as you would like it to be. In an office, you likely had ergonomic support that reduces arthritis-related pain. However, when you are working at home with arthritis, you will probably be lacking in the ergonomic support department. In this article, we will go over how to protect your joints from suffering.
Have a Comfortable Chair
You are going to be sitting for hours at a time, which means your chair will be the single biggest determinant of how much pain you will experience while working at home with arthritis. This doesn’t mean you have to buy a new chair, although that could definitely help. You could also readjust your current chair and sit more comfortably.
First and foremost, make sure your chair provides you with enough back support. A stool is not going to cut it, so make sure you have the support. To get it, sit in a chair and place a pillow or towel roll behind your back for more back support.
If your chair is too low to work comfortably, place a pillow under your seat. You will want to aim for your chair’s edge to be around 3″ to 4″ from the backs of your knees. This will give your thighs extra support, preventing the tissue in your legs from getting compressed. You want to maintain adequate blood flow into your lower legs.
Get a Foot Rest
Your feet should always make contact with the ground. If they don’t, you should place something below them for support. This could be a sturdy box, textbook, or a specially-designed footrest. Dangling legs negatively affect your pelvis and spine, increasing pressure against your thighs and reducing blood flow to your legs.
You may find it necessary to raise the table you are working at a little higher. This can easily be done using blocks, boards, or similar kinds of supporting material. Make sure they stay stable. However, avoid raising your table too high, because this could lead to your arms not getting the proper blood flow they need. Ideally, your elbows should be more than 90 degrees, with your wrists in a neutral position.
Adjust Your Monitor
Your screen, whether you’re using a laptop or desktop, needs to be positioned in a way so your neck stays in a neutral position. A human head can weigh 12 pounds, which means our necks need to work harder to prop them up when facing downward for long periods of time. Reduce the stress on your neck, so that all the muscles, ligaments, and spinal disks can get some relief. If you are suffering from arthritis, you have to be particularly careful not to damage these.
Ideally, you would be using an external monitor or laptop stand. This will ensure that your screen is high enough for you to avoid straining your neck. If your monitor is too low, you can find a few thick books and use them to prop it up. Also, keep your monitor around one arm’s length away from your face.
Switch to a Standing Workstation
Standing desks have surged in popularity in recent years. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on one that was specifically designed to be a standing desk. You can make one yourself. All you really need is a counter or dresser that is high enough. It’s even possible to get more creative if these are in short supply and use something like an ironing board. You can then place your laptop on top of it and work while standing. Standing while working may relieve lower back pain you may have.
Instead of sitting or standing all day while working, get your body moving from time to time. Hunching forward is something you will be doing and not even realizing it. Take part in small exercise movements to get your joints lubricated and stretched. You will also be improving blood flow throughout your body when you do this.
If you are sitting for long periods of time and feel pain when you get up, you may have waited too long. There may have been microdamage to your muscles due to the long periods of inactivity or being stuck in an awkward position. You can avoid succumbing to this by making timed reminders for you to stretch and move around every 30-60 minutes. Walk over to the kitchen and get yourself a glass of water. Do something that requires you to get your body moving. You can even do some simple stretches.
Take a Joint Supplement
A joint supplement, like Jointfuel360, can help prevent and reduce joint pain you may experience while working at home with arthritis. There are potent ingredients, such as the antioxidant resveratrol, anti-inflammatories like black pepper extract and turmeric, and ingredients promoting joint lubrication like hyaluronic avid, that will both reduce your joint pain and increase joint flexibility.
If you are working from home, even if it is temporary, you should make sure you are protecting your joints and doing what you can to reduce those aches. With the tips provided in this article, you can enjoy a workday without all the stiffness you may usually be experiencing. You owe it to yourself to have as little pain as possible.