More than half of 18 to 24-year-olds already have back pain from bad posture

Displeased male freelancer having backache while working on laptop at home.
Working from the dinner table might be worsening your back pain. (Getty Images)

Most people wouldn’t normally expect to start complaining about back or neck pain until their thirties. However, a new study shows that young people are already beginning to suffer due to poor posture while working from home.

Research conducted by office furniture experts Slouch revealed that 65% of Britons aged between 18 to 24 years old are experiencing back pain and posture problems - more than millennials and boomers.

Overall, more than half (54%) of Brits reported seeing a big or slight increase in physical problems due to work-from-home setups that are less than ideal for our posture.

The survey found that only 39% of Brits work from a desk when they work remotely. A quarter admitted to working at the kitchen table, while 23% admitted to working from the sofa.

For some people, a lack of space can make it difficult to fit a desk into the home, so working at the kitchen table is inevitable. Others may feel it is more comfortable to work from the sofa or their bed. However, not working at a proper desk can wreak havoc on our posture, which in turn can impact our health and productivity.

This image shows a young African American man with his hand on his neck, looking uncomfortable while sitting on a sofa in a cozy living room
More young people are experiencing neck and back pain from bad posture while working from home, a new study shows. (Getty Images)

James Davies, osteopath and performance coach, partnered with Slouch to explain why poor posture can have a negative impact and said: "Poor posture occurs when the body expends too much energy to maintain a position, causing some areas of the body to overwork, disrupting important mechanisms in the body, such as breathing patterns.

"Muscles and joints can suffer from poor posture, leading to chronic pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. This pain can become a constant distraction, making it difficult to concentrate on work.

"Additionally, ‘slouching’ and ‘hunching’ can limit lung capacity, restrict breathing, and reduce oxygen intake, leading to fatigue and headaches, which further decrease productivity. Good posture, on the other hand, allows your body to function efficiently."

In order to help you correct your posture while working from home, pilates instructor Eloise Skinner emphasised the importance of sitting at your desk correctly.

She said: "Good posture when working from home should involve both feet placed firmly on the floor with your hips level and at a 90-degree angle.

Side view of a woman using computer at office desk.
Making sure you have a good work-from-home setup is important for maintaining good posture. (Getty Images)

"Make sure your spine is in ‘neutral’ - this is its natural position, making sure to avoid arching the lower back or rounding the upper back. Ensure your neck is aligned with your spine (avoiding the chin moving forwards), the desk providing a 90-degree angle for your elbows, and computer screen at eye height."

However, sometimes it’s just not possible to sit at a desk while working remotely. In these cases, Skinner suggested: "If you can't maintain good posture - perhaps due to restrictions in the working environment, or other factors that make it difficult to achieve the set-up - try to keep moving.

"Take regular breaks to stretch, reset and breathe deeply. Taking regular breaks to move is an important element of healthy working-from-home practice, even if you do have an ideal set-up.

"If you're working on a soft surface (like a sofa or bed), try to maintain the principles of good posture as much as you can. Making sure your spine is in the correct alignment is a great place to start, and also think about the eye-level position of your screen. If you do have periods of working away from your desk, try to make them as restricted as possible."

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