When talking about workplace injuries, it’s most often assumed to be about people getting injured from working in factories, fieldwork, and other sites that may put them at risk for accidents. In reality, workplace injuries and pain can happen anywhere and to anyone, including people working in their home offices.
Sometimes, many businesses have to switch their workforce into remote work setups for one reason or another.
While remote work setup has brought numerous benefits for many employees, it has also presented some unique challenges and new types of risks to their health. Some of these health risks may include:
- Muscle and tendon strains
- Rotator cuff injury
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Neck pain or stiff neck
- Spine or back pains
If you’re already feeling one or more of these physical pains, you’ll need to manage and deal with them immediately before these could turn into chronic body pains. Remember that remote working is a promising possibility for many companies, so expect to see this setup in the years to come, whether temporarily or permanently.
For your reference, here are six pain management practices you can follow while working from home:
1. Take Breaks and Perform Body Stretches
Sitting in front of your work desk for eight to nine hours straight is not good for your body. Not only does it promote a sedentary lifestyle, but it can also worsen your body pains, specifically around the neck and lower back area. Thus, it’s crucial to take multiple breaks in a day and perform body stretches.
Focus on stretching around your back, shoulders, neck, and feet, as these areas, are often the most affected when you’re working from home. If taking breaks is a constant struggle, you can set multiple alarms during your work shift as a reminder to get up and do three to five minutes of body stretches.
If performing stretches are already too stressful and painful for your body, it might be best to consult a professional physiotherapist for a proper diagnosis. There are different types of physiotherapy techniques that address various body pains and ailments. For example, manual therapy alleviates pain in the spine, shoulders, arms, and legs.
Meanwhile, ultrasound therapy promotes blood flow circulation and mobilizes your soft muscle tissues, especially if you have tendonitis caused by your job.
Once the physical aches and pains have been treated professionally, keep your body and overall health in check by doing daily stretches as part of your work routine. This is to prevent any work-related pain and injuries in the future.
2. Apply Temperature Therapy Based on Your Body Pain
It’s known that temperature therapy, more commonly known as heat and cold treatments, can effectively treat injuries and body pains. However, make sure you apply the proper treatment at the right time to promote early healing. Generally, cold therapy is suitable for intense and sudden body pains.
A good example is when you get a wrist strain or sprained wrist resulting from repetitively and almost endlessly holding and moving your computer mouse. As a result, you suddenly feel this tingling pain around your wrist and hands caused by overstretching your hand ligaments.
To relieve the pain surrounding your wrist, you’ll need to apply ice immediately to reduce pain and prevent swelling.
After a few days or weeks, when the pain and swelling have subsided, you can switch to heat therapy or heat treatments. The heat will help ease aching and soreness and help speed up the recovery of your wrist overall. Some heat treatments you can use are heating pads, taking warm baths, or applying hot towels. For cold treatments, you can use cold sprays or ice packs.
3. Take Pain Medications According to the Doctor’s Prescription
If the body pain tends to act up every time you’re working on your desk, it may be best to confer with a doctor and ask for a prescription for pain relief. Most doctors would often recommend aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or even CBD oil as the best medications against body aches and pain. However, make sure you only take them according to the prescription.
You can also consult your doctor again once the pain has been allayed and you believe that you no longer need those pain relief medications. Otherwise, abusing the usage of these medicines can lead to strokes and kidney-related diseases.
4. Eat Anti-inflammatory Food for Chronic Body Pain Management
Your diet and eating habits can also significantly affect how your body handles and reacts to pain and stress. Many remote workers find it hard to monitor their diet and eating habits, though, especially when they’re used to ‘stress eating’ while working. For instance, you could be working in your home office while eating burgers or fries for lunch.
Unfortunately, eating deep-fried food items and those with refined sugar and trans fats will only worsen back and neck pains due to their pro-inflammatory properties.
Thus, to ensure your body can effectively handle and recover from body pains, focus on eating a healthy diet filled with anti-inflammatory food. Fruits, almonds, dark leafy vegetables, meat, and fish can help reduce pain and inflammation in your body.
5. Incorporate Low-Impact Exercises on Your Daily Routine
Despite your busy remote work schedule, make it a point to include exercises and strength training in your daily routine. Exercising daily will improve your flexibility, encourage proper posture, and reduce pain brought by your body aches.
You don’t need to worry about going to the gym after a long and exhausting day seated in your home office. Yoga, walking, stretching, biking, and swimming are some low-impact exercises that help manage body pains and promote joint movement.
Besides the low-impact exercises, add strength training to your daily exercise routine. This will soothe body strains caused by sitting for long hours and make it easier for your body to lift heavy objects (e.g., moving your office desk, lifting your computer or laptop).
6. Prevent Work-Related Body Pains
By and large, the best way to manage body pains is to ensure they never happen to you again. Keep in mind that lower back pains, wrist strains, and stiff necks can only occur if you’re constantly doing the following:
- Poor sitting and standing posture while working
- Lifting heavy objects the wrong way
- Unhealthy eating lifestyle
- Failure to take breaks and perform stretches
- Not getting enough rest and sleep for your body to recover
Working from home may sound comfortable and relaxing, considering that you don’t need to go anywhere to earn money. Add this to the fact that remote working also promotes a healthy work-life balance. However, you also need to pay more attention to your body, especially because this work setup involves sitting for long hours.
That’s why it’s recommended to use ergonomic furniture and practice proper sitting posture to prevent your body and muscles from experiencing strain and pain. Furthermore, make sure you lead a healthy lifestyle and give your body enough time to rest and relax.
Working from home comes with perks and benefits. Still, it can also turn into endless body pains and potential fatigue when you don’t look after your body. Thus, keep these practices in mind and start incorporating them into your lifestyle to reduce your risks of suffering from muscle strains, body pains, and other work-related injuries.
Remember, no job is worth surrendering your body, health, and overall wellness.