Dear Patients and Friends,
A recent survey by the American Chiropractic Association of its member doctors has shown a striking rise in office workers with complaints of neck and back pain. They all had one thing in common, THEY HAD BEEN WORKING FROM HOME FOR SEVERAL WEEKS! That’s right, posture matters and too many of us have tried sitting on the sofa, recliner, or on top of the bed with our laptops and it is not good for us.
In today’s unprecedented work at home directive we have to be mindful of our posture, and how we sit for hours at a time at our laptop, desktop or with our smart phones. Poor posture leads to poor ergonomics(the study or people’s efficiency in the work place) and that can lead to a jammed up neck or lower back. Allow me to give a few pointers on working at home.
1. Raise your laptop up so it is at eye level. Looking down at it for long periods causes strain on your neck and will eventually lead to dysfunction. Sitting at the kitchen table is much better than sitting on top of the bed with the tablet on your lap. If on the sofa or in a recliner, place some pillows in your lap and then put the computer on top of the pillows so it is closer to eye level. (place a book under the laptop so it can ventilate properly and not overheat). TV trays can help raise the device too!
2. The same holds true for Smart Phones. Hold it out in front of your face, don’t let it rest on your chest or stomach and look down at it. The term ‘text neck’ comes to mind from this bad habit.
3. Try to use an external mouse and keyboard when possible and have it at elbow height so you are not contracting shoulder muscles to raise your arm to tablet for long periods of time. That causes uneven muscle contraction for long periods and that can torque your neck and shoulders out of alignment.
4. Never Slouch! Hold your head up high, shoulders back and sit on the bottom of your pelvis, not your back side. In other words, “sit up straight!,” that’s right, your mother was right when she kept encouraging you to have better posture. Slouching for long periods impairs circulation and limits your lung capacity. With head back and chest out you can get a full breath and that’s important.
5. Stand some while working on computer. Place that laptop on the dresser or chest of drawers where it is eye level while standing. It’s better for your back and increases circulation in your legs.
6. If working from home, take mini breaks. Walk around the house, go outside for a bit of fresh air, do some squats or lunges for leg strength.
So if you are one of these unfortunate folks that has undone themselves by working at home call us, we can straighten you out in no time. If you are doing ok, great! Hang in there and hopefully the Covid19 Pandemic will pass soon and we can all get back to the lifestyles and activities we enjoyed before this happened.
Mark E Cotney, DC