With a lot of us working from home at the moment, you may have noticed you are becoming increasingly stiff through the back, neck and shoulders. This can lead to injury, postural changes, decreased range of motion, decreased concentration and headaches! A good way to try and avoid this is by having a good work routine and a healthy work space set up at home. Yes, this means not participating in your zoom meetings from the couch!!
First things first…KEEP MOVING!
I cannot stress this enough, movement is vital in maintaining our bodies optimal function. This doesn’t just apply for our musculoskeletal health but also our mental and emotional wellbeing. For every hour that you are sitting at the computer, try and get up and have a 10 minute ‘movement break’. This could be going for a walk around the block, doing some stretching/exercise or at the very least, get up and walk around the house! Throughout the day you should be trying to take every joint in your body through its full range of motion, at least once.
Next is to have your work place properly organised so that it has the least amount of impact on your health. You can do this by following these tips:
• Have an actual area in your home dedicated for work! This helps you focus and get in the zone. Try and keep away from distractions like the TV and your phone.
• Have a proper work chair with back support. If you do not have an office chair at home, you can make do with an ordinary chair by placing a thin cushion underneath your back side and a rolled up towel behind your low back for that extra lumbar support!
• Sit on the chair properly! Sit as far back on the chair with your feet flat on the floor, ideally your hips and thighs should be at a right angle. You can place a foot stool underneath if you need to prop your feet up higher.
• Elevate your laptop! You want the top of your screen to be just below eye level. This may mean the keyboard is too far away to type. If you have an external keyboard you can plug in that’s great! If not, you can change the position of your laptop depending on the type of work you are doing. If you are reading a lot, have it elevated. If you are typing a lot, you can lower it so that your elbows are at 90 degrees.
• Change your position! Try not to stay in the same position for too long. You can alternate between sitting and standing if you have a high enough bench. You can also elevate your feet from time to time.
• Adequate lighting! Don’t work in a place that is too dark or too light so that you are straining your eyes while reading.
As a Chiropractor, I see a lot of this “postural overload’ so if you feel like this is you, go and see your health practitioner. You can expect a thorough assessment of your bodies movement patterns, posture and strength. Then you will be given a specific treatment plan to follow which may include; chiropractic adjustment, soft tissue work, joint mobilisations and an individualised home exercise/stretching program for you to achieve the maximum benefits!
If you would like to know more about this blog, feel free to contact me!