Working and Studying from Home When You Live With Arthritis
When you get into a car to drive it for the first time, what do you do? You make sure you adjust the seat so you can reach the gas and brake pedals, you adjust rear view and side mirrors see the road easily
We do this to make driving safer and feel more comfortable. When you work from home and or go to school at home we need to make adjustments so we can be comfortable. Especially if living with joint pain.
Tips for Arranging a Healthy Work – Study Space
Working or studying from home during the coronavirus pandemic can put new strains on your joints. Use these expert tips to adjust any workspace to fit your needs.
Being still for long periods and doing repetitive work tasks that fatigue the same muscles over and over can strain the neck, shoulders, back, hands and wrists, and even the hips knees and legs. Here’s how we can adjust our work or study space help to avoid strain.
Move often – Get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes and make a habit of adjusting your position frequently. “Shifting positions and moving around are the best ways to combat pain, stiffness and fatigue,” I try to every 20-30 minutes stand up stretch and walk or march in place for 3-5 minutes.
Place your computer monitor so you don’t have to look up – Tilting your head to view a too-high screen strains the neck. Eyes should be level with the top of the screen (oversize monitors are exceptions). The center should be 15 degrees below your line of sight and approximately an arm’s length away.
Stop bending your neck to text – Tilting your head down leads to text neck, its from leaning forward to long this can cause shoulder and neck pain and headaches. So, extend that phone out in front of you
Place your feet firmly on the floor – Use a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor.
Support your arms – Be sure your chair’s armrests are adjustable. Set them so your upper and lower arm form a 90-degree angle and you can keep your wrists straight and fingers relaxed.
Keep your main work and study essentials within arm’s reach – Your books, pens, phone, planner, and whatever other tools you use many times during the day should be within arm’s reach. This stops you from leaning forward or contorting your body into awkward postures to reach them.
Find the right size chair – You should have at least a one-inch gap between the edge of the seat and the backs of your knees when sitting back in the chair. Its seat should be at least an inch wider than your hips and thighs. The chair’s back should be wide enough for your back, but not so wide it restricts arm movements. Try before you buy. Visit stores and sit in many chairs before selecting one.
Pick a chair that swivels and rolls – Choose a swivel chair with a five-point base for stability and wheels for ease of movement.
Raise your laptop – Laptop risers help bring the screen closer to eye level. You’ll want a separate keyboard that can be at the proper height for that task.
Don’t work or study in bed – Not only will this wreak havoc on your posture and increase your risk for joint and back pain, it can also interfere with your sleep.
Stretch Often and Take a Break Every Hour Frequent breaks are crucial in this time. Take a break every hour to give you the mental refocus needed to complete your tasks.
Stretching is encouraged to increase blood flow, decrease stiff muscles, reset postural habits and prevent chronic issues like back pain. See in references below.
Use a headset – This will help you bypass the stress to the neck and shoulders that can come from repeatedly reaching for the phone or cradling it between the ear and shoulder.
Try ergonomic keyboards and mice – These are designed to keep hands and forearms in a more neutral position. Vertical mice, for example, orient and support your hand in an upright, neutral position. They may be useful if you have carpal tunnel syndrome – a compression of the carpal nerve in the wrist that may sometimes be caused by repetitive hand and finger motions