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With the ever-developing internet technology, many people have been enabled to work from home. These jobs usually include a lot of sitting in front of the computer or laptop. 

According to the latest statistics, over 55% of businesses worldwide offer a form of work-from-home job. This means that millions of people worldwide spend most of their day sitting in their homes. 

Although working from home can have its benefits, it has its downsides too. One of those downsides is the lack of physical activity that can cause different health issues.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • How sitting for a long time affects your back
  • What are the optimal work area ergonomics and sitting postures for your spine
  • What are the exercises that you can do from home to prevent serious back problems from happening

So, let’s begin…

Why Is Sitting for a Long Time Bad for Your Back?

Physical activity of any kind is crucial for both our mental and physical well-being. Staying inactive and sitting for a long time can cause different illnesses and deformities. 

The more you sit, the weaker your lower-body muscles get. Eventually, this can lead to muscle atrophy, which means that even walking would become a difficult task to perform. 

Moreover, without basic physical activities like walking, the risk of becoming overweight is higher. A fragile and inactive body is prone to bad posture, which also adds to the damage you are inflicting upon your back.

And while our body is exposed to all these changes (weak muscles, more weight, poor posture), the pillar of our entire body structure, also known as the spine, suffers the most. 

Excessive sitting can cause different problems like:

…and, unfortunately, this is just to name a few. 

Although it has been proven that most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, that doesn’t mean it can’t be developed later on in life. Scoliosis in adults can also be dangerous if not treated in time. And that’s why it’s best to prevent it from happening.  

Improve Your Home Office Set up

It might come as a surprise that by changing some of our habits, we can go a long way when it comes to our health. 

So, if your job requires you to sit all day, you shouldn’t instantly think about quitting. First, you need to think about your work area ergonomics and sitting posture

As we have already mentioned, poor posture and sitting for prolonged periods of time can cause severe back problems. But by following these simple guidelines which ensure a comfortable work area that causes little or no pressure to your spine, you can prevent these issues from occurring:

Eye-Level Test

Most people working from home use their computer or laptop. So, the position of the screen is crucial for a proper posture. 

To see if your screen is positioned correctly you need to perform the eye level test. Simply sit in your chair with your eyes closed, and find a position that’s most comfortable to you. After having settled in your chair, slowly start to open your eyes while your head is facing forward. 

You should now be looking at the center of your screen. If your screen is set any other way, try moving it up or down.

Elbow Test

To perform this test, you need to sit as close as you can to your desk. Lean your hands against the work surface while your upper arms are parallel to your spine. Elbows should be at a 90-degree angle, or if they aren’t that means that you need to move your chair up or down some more. ​

Thigh Test

Try sliding your finger under your thigh at the front part of the chair. If you can’t slide them or if it feels too tight, then that’s a sign that you need a footrest to prop your feet up. On the other hand, if the space between the thigh and the chair is more than finger width, you should raise the chair (or even desk if necessary).

Lower-Back Support

The proper way to sit in a chair while working means that your buttocks should at all times be pressed against the chair. For that position, you’ll need a form of lower back support (like a cushion) next to your lower back that will cause it to arch slightly. ​

Proper Armrest

The armrest also plays a vital role in sitting correctly. It should be adjusted so it slightly lifts the arms at the shoulders. The proper use of an armrest prevents stiff neck and shoulders, and it can also help you not to slouch. ​

Regular At-Home Workouts

Working out and staying active is of paramount importance in fighting scoliosis. There are various exercises that can help your body fight scoliosis that you can do almost anywhere, including your home.

So, if you don’t have time to hit the gym, working out at home is a perfect substitute. One of the most popular at-home exercises that can help you stretch the muscles around your spine is yoga

But, if you are already experiencing some back pain, or you have difficulties moving in certain directions, we highly recommend consulting with a specialist before you start doing any exercises. 

In Conclusion

Working from home and sitting can cause various health issues. Poor posture combined with a prolonged period of sitting will result in back pain and serious complications like scoliosis. 

Simple adjustments like a proper organization of your work area and regular exercise can help prevent these issues from occurring. 

If you’ve already been diagnosed with scoliosis, there are other things that might be of help like a scoliosis brace or back brace for scoliosis adults. 

Scoliosis bracing can be ideal for people who work from home since they can wear them whenever they like. 

If you are in need of any consultation with a professional orthotist, feel free to contact Align Clinic at any time. We can set up an appointment and discuss the best course of treatment for you.