After more than a year of spending most of our time at home, most of us are slowly resuming some pre-pandemic habits, such as returning to an office or socializing a bit more. But, even as things return to normal, many people will likely continue to spend more time a home, and working from home might be appropriate for several more months. For most of us, that means less movement than normal, and it could be causing some stiffness, joint pain or increased arthritis flare-ups. If you’re feeling more aches and pains, it can deplete your energy and make it harder to get through the day. Take time to evaluate your habits and see if they might be contributing to your joint pain and discomfort.
Ways to deal with joint pain and arthritis flare-ups while working from home:
- Don’t work from your bed. While seemingly more comfortable, working from your bed is terrible for your posture and back. Sit upright at a desk or table where available and avoid slouching. Good posture reduces back pain and tension in your neck and shoulders. Good posture is critical to managing arthritis pain.
- Exercise. Getting out and moving is incredibly important — especially in a job where you may not be moving much throughout the day. Go on walks before or after work, or during lunch breaks. Find the time to get your heart rate up and keep your body moving. Low-impact exercises (such as yoga or pilates) will keep your muscles and joints strong.
- Take a break and stretch. Working from home every day for over a year is exhausting. Take frequent breaks and stand up to do gentle stretches. Not only will it give your mind a break, but it will also help warm up muscles, tendons and ligaments, while reducing joint pain.
- Eat well. Find nutritious snacks and plan healthy meals. Eating large amounts of sugar contributes to inflammation — which can cause increased joint pain — so avoid highly processed and refined foods. Eating well will give your body the nutrients and minerals it needs to function optimally.
Joint pain and stiffness from reduced movement is common. Prioritize your health and don’t put off getting healthcare if you need it. If you’re experiencing joint pain or increased arthritis pain, speak to your doctor. At El Camino Health, our orthopedic care team specializes in relieving joint pain. We offer seamless care, from diagnosis through treatment and rehabilitation. Learn more.
This article first appeared in the May 2021 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.