Remote Workers – Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Work from the Couch
Nearly six out of 10 people in the United States classify themselves as remote workers, according to a recent survey of more than 25,000 Americans. One of the major perks of working from home is that you’re no longer chained to a desk — you can choose the work setup that’s most comfortable for you.
But while it may be tempting to sprawl out on the couch with your laptop, these working conditions may not be ideal for your body in the long run. Understanding the importance of good posture while working from home can help you protect your musculoskeletal system — and your overall health.
How Posture Affects the Musculoskeletal System
Posture can be divided into two categories: dynamic and static. Dynamic posture is the way you hold your body when you’re moving. Static posture is the way you hold your body when you’re still, whether you’re sitting, standing, or sleeping (or working on your couch).
Both types of posture involve your musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, muscles, joints, and tendons that provide your body with form, stability, and the potential for movement. When posture is poor — especially over a long period of time — it can negatively impact the musculoskeletal system. This means you may be more likely to suffer from:
- Muscle soreness
- Stiff joints
- Decreased flexibility/range of motion
- Loss of balance
Other complications of poor posture include back pain, spinal dysfunction, and joint degeneration.
Poor posture tends to worsen over time, and many people who tend to slump or hunch their shoulders may find this habit getting progressively worse as they age. About two out of three senior women and one out of two senior men will develop hyperkyphosis, or extremely hunched posture. This condition is linked to back pain and breathing problems and may interfere with your ability to do everyday activities.
Protecting Your Posture When You Work From Home
Because most of us spend much of our workdays in the same static position, it’s important that we make an effort to maintain good posture to protect the musculoskeletal system.
Here are some tips for setting up your home office in a way that promotes good posture.
Avoid sitting or lying on your couch or in bed. Instead, sit at a desk or table.
Use a supportive chair that will allow you to comfortably sit up straight, with your head squared above your shoulders and hips and your forearms and thighs parallel to the floor.
Situate your computer screen so that it’s about an arm’s length from your head.
Take movement breaks at least once an hour. This can be as simple as standing and stretching but a stroll to the local coffee shop works, too!
When to See a Doctor
If you’re concerned that chronically poor posture while working may be taking a toll on your musculoskeletal system, consider reaching out to an orthopedic specialist. Based on your symptoms, they can make a diagnosis and explain your treatment options while also offering suggestions for ways to make your workspace more supportive (literally). See the experts at JIS Orthopedics by scheduling online or calling us at 614.221.6331.