There are many good things about working from home. You save time because you don’t need to commute. You can also control your environment to boost your productivity. But there is one problem that may potentially occur when working from home: muscle pain.
Types of pain caused by working from home
After shifting to a work-from-home setup due to COVID-19, some employees are now working at an average of 11 hours per day. That’s two hours more than the usual eight hours. And this prolonged period of work can result in different sorts of body pain. If your home office setup is not ergonomic, you may experience neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain.
There are many things that you can do in the comfort of your own home to alleviate pain and work more efficiently:
You could do temperature therapy to treat your muscle pain. You could either use a hot or cold compress.
A hot compress can soothe sore muscles by improving blood circulation. This method is helpful with treating muscle pain that has been present for a few days. If you experience neck or lower back pain frequently, you can use a warm towel or a heating pad and place it onto your pain points. Meanwhile, a cold compress is more effective to use when muscle pain is only starting. Put ice in a bag, wrap it in a piece of towel, and gently place it on your pain area. This temperature therapy can soothe swollen muscles and numb the pain.
Taking Pain Medications
If your muscle pain is starting to disrupt your work but you can’t pause to do temperature therapy, you can take anti-inflammatory drugs instead. An ibuprofen or an aspirin can help you get rid of your pain relatively fast.
But it’s important that you don’t rely on pain medications and take them only when extremely necessary, like when your pain has become too unbearable to ignore. It’s best to try other options before resorting to pain medication.
Becoming More Active
Exercising has a lot of benefits, and these include addressing muscle pain. For instance, if you do aerobic exercises regularly, you will improve your blood circulation and reduce muscle stiffness. These exercises help with healing back pain and lowering recurrence. Core exercises such as sit-ups and planks have also shown the same results. Yoga and other stretching exercises can also help treat muscle pain. These activities can strengthen the muscles that support your back and spine.
Ideally, if you start experiencing body pain, you will need to consult a medical expert or go for a massage treatment to treat your pain areas. But if you’re worried about going out, especially given the current state of the pandemic, you can massage yourself instead.
If you’re experiencing back pain due to sitting for long hours, you can use a tennis ball to massage your back. Lie down on your back and put your tennis ball under your pain area. Hold it for a few seconds and release. If you don’t have a tennis ball, you can use your fingers and gently draw circles on areas where you feel pain.
For neck and shoulder pain, you don’t need a tennis ball. You can simply sit straight anywhere, and then pull your shoulders away from your neck. Gently press your fingers onto your pain areas or move your fingers in both clockwise and counterclockwise rotations.
Changing Your Diet
You also need to be conscious of what you eat to reduce muscle pain. For instance, food with refined sugar and saturated fats may stimulate inflammations and make pain worse. These types of food include white bread and red meat. Thus, you need to reduce your consumption of them.
You could also add anti-inflammatory food to your diet to help with pain relief. Food rich in omega-3 and antioxidants has natural anti-inflammatory properties. So you need to add food rich in these elements, such as fish, soy-based food, fruits, and vegetables, to your diet to help with long-term pain relief.
Working for longer hours in a home office occurs because people not only do work during work hours. They may be taking care of other things at home. But working too long could result in body pain.
If you experience muscle pain because of work, there are many things that you can do to feel relief. You can do a hot or cold compress, take pain medications, do some stretching, and do a self-massage for quick pain relief. Changing your diet would also help reduce pain in the long run.