Working from home could have negative physical impacts on your body

Virginia

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Throughout the pandemic, many have learned how working from home has many positives (like being able to work from the comfort of your bed or sofa), but doctors warn that these work setups could potentially be detrimental to your health.

“Prolonged sitting in a rounded, kyphotic posture, if your lower back is rounded and you’re hunched over, then you’re extending your neck and a lot of people chronically develop dowagers or a hump in the back of their upper shoulders as well as a lot of pain in their neck, which can radiate down your arms and your legs,” said Monika Stolz, program manager/neurological certified physical therapist, Inova Loudoun Hospital Outpatient Specialty Rehab.

It’s typical to sit in this posture as we look down at our laptop computers. Stolz recommends using a desktop computer if possible, but still being mindful of taking breaks to stand and walk around.  

“There’s an expression that sitting is the new smoking. There’s all sorts of statistics and evidence that show that prolonged sitting can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, even cancer. So trying to get up and move around every hour, stand every hour, as much as you can throughout the day,” expressed Stolz.

In addition, giving your eyes a break from the screen can also help prevent digital eye strain.

“If you’re staying at the computer screen for 20 minutes, there’s a 20/20/20 rule. So, if you’re staring at the computer for 20 minutes, I recommend looking away, 20 feet away for 20 seconds,” said Stolz.

Stolz said Inova has been seeing many patients who have been complaining of chronic pain and new onset of pain, due to working from home. She said stretching your wrists, back, neck and legs and modifying your home setup may help lessen any pain you may be experiencing.

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