Your Ergonomic Guide

 

Businesswoman suffering from back pain

Businesswoman suffering from back pain at office

As a chiropractor I treat, manage, and advise clients with regards to their posture. One of the most common issues I encounter are desk workers who struggle with lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder tension, and headaches. Most of the time, these symptoms can be related back to their posture which is greatly affected by their work conditions, and the ergonomics of their desk. Many employers are now becoming aware of the health issues that can affect desk workers and are getting on board with providing more ergonomic friendly working environments. Below is a list of ways to ensure your workstation is as posture friendly as possible.

  1. Ensure your keyboard is at elbow height. By keeping your keyboard at elbow height you don’t have to raise or lower your arms to reach the keyboard. This reduces the amount of strain on the shoulders and wrists. If your keyboard is too high you may find yourself holding your shoulders higher and therefore the muscles constantly engaged and less likely to relax into a comfortable posture.
  2. Computer monitor height; Your computer monitor shoulder be at eye level. The rule of thumb here is that the top of your screen is lined up exactly with your eye line. This stops you from having to lift or drop the head forward or backward. While it’s logical to think you aren’t using your neck and simply moving your eyes, this isn’t how your body works. Once you do this, you’ll never want to go back.
  3. Posture awareness: Most of us don’t know what proper seated posture looks like. The key is to align your ear, shoulder, and hips exactly vertical atop one another. If you haven’t followed step two you will notice that it’s difficult to have your ear over your shoulder without proper screen placement. This helps keep the spine straight and alleviate stress on the lower back. Your feet should comfortably touch the floor, if not, consider getting a footrest to stop the legs and hips from falling forward. Hopefully it goes without saying we should not be crossing our legs!
  4. For those of you who are constantly on the phone, it’s ideal that you use a portable headset. Eliminate holding the phone to your ear with your shoulder.
  5. Take breaks! This is something that sounds easy but often we get on a roll with our work and can stay focused on a task for upwards of 2-3 hours at times. For every 30 minutes of desk time we should be taking a quick posture break of approximately 30secs-1min. If you’d like to be an expert at this check out Bruegger’s posture breaks where you let your head fall completely back, open the chest, arching the back, and turning the hands to point the thumbs backwards.

Posture is something we all struggle with, and those of you working at a desk full time are the most at risk. Take the time to evaluate your workstation and don’t be afraid to make changes to allow your body to function easier while conducting your work. If you have more questions or need more resources to help with your workplace posture contact us as Wellspring Chiropractic.

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our chiropractors call 3482 2637 or click here to book an appointment online