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Working from home: steps to a more comfortable workspace

The couch isn't saving your spine, but following the '90 degree' rule could!

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — If you've been working from home for days or weeks, you may start feeling some discomforts from your home workspace.

This isn't uncommon, and likely you just need a new setup.

Dr. Kristin Dolan with Thrive Chiropractic says avoid that squishy living room furniture if you'll be working on you computer for hours at a time.

"Sitting on the couch is not the best option even though it usually pretty comfortable," Dolan said. "It's not great for posture because you tend to slouch forward and over time that strains muscles of the back and neck."

Opt instead for a workspace where you can achieve the "90 degree" rule.

"You are looking for everything to be at 90 degrees. Your screen at eye level, you want to be able to sit up so that your hips are at a 90 degree angle, straight flat back, knees at a 90 degree angle," Dolan describe. "Maybe get a stool for under your feet or put books under your laptop, and sometimes putting a pillow behind your back if you are sitting forward."

Changing your workspace to reflect this will take the stress off your spine and make you feel better. And even if it seems like you could get away with a little discomfort while you're at home, the decisions you make now affect you in the long-run.

"The new saying nowadays is 'sitting is the new smoking', and slouching will have lasting affects that we see down the road and little bits over time add up to bigger issues and life events," Dolan said.

One thing to add in to your routine as well, Dolan suggests, getting up at least one minute every hour. Set an alarm on your phone and do a lap around your house to shake out and stretch. 

STRETCH IT OUT

While taking a break, bust out the yoga mat or towel. Here are two easy stretches to get the blood flowing and stretch out your back, hands and all over:

EXTENDED PUPPY POSE

"You'll come on all fours, your shoulders should be lined above your wrists, hips above knees. As you exhale take deep breath and let your hips shift towards your heels and put your head to the floor or a blanket. The support will let the neck relax. Breathe in to your back and create length in your spine, you can walk your hands out so they are wider than your shoulders and open up your fingertips to create openness through forearms and chest if you are typing a lot," YogaSix instructor Ashly Sims explained.

Do this exercise for 3-5 rounds of breathing.

CAT-COW

"Come to a table top position, stacking shoulders over wrists, hips over knees, firmly spring fingers nice and wide, press hands into floor, take a deep breath in, drop belly and arch back, gaze forward," Sims described. "Take a deep breath in, as you exhale think of a cat, round your back, bring bellybutton to spine, let shoulders separate, exhale let head go, let neck go."