WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Working from home is becoming a literal pain in the neck for some during the pandemic.
ABC7 health reporter Victoria Sanchez spoke with a physical therapy expert about relief for aching muscles.
Ergonomic chairs and expensive standing desks were left behind in office buildings as telework became the norm to allow for social distancing and quarantine.
Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic physical therapist Sebastian Cohen shares tips with 7 On Your Side to make life a little less painful.
“I want to get you through a workday right now,” Sebastian told Sanchez during a Zoom interview.
His first two suggestions are simple: listen to your body and move around.
If you use your kitchen table as a desk and sit for hours at a time, set an hourly alarm to remind yourself to stand up. If you feel stiff before the bell rings, take a mini-break early. Home furniture might not be as comfortable as something designed for the workplace, but Cohen says you don’t need to spend money for a fix.
“It can be something as simple as if you have a bar at the house, sometimes that will work, sometimes a dresser. I’ve even told patients, ‘You got an Amazon box lying around? Plop that Amazon box on top of your table, move your laptop up top, boom, you’ve got a sit-to-stand desk,’” he said.
When that gets uncomfortable, move again. Maybe try putting your feet up on the couch with a few pillows behind your back.
When you head back to a chair, try an exercise Cohen calls his “chair yoga."
“It’s like a mindfulness, postural, breathing exercise. Sitting right there where you are, imagine that there’s a string on top of your head pulling you up. Sitting up straight, squeeze your bathroom muscles as though you have to pee, shoulders back and chin tucked in, so you’re making a double chin. And you can just feel how all of a sudden, you’re straighter. Now, hold this, deep diaphragmatic breathing,” he described.