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The last few months have created a huge shift in the typical work environment. Vast majority of patients are coming in complaining about their new work station. The new work station isn’t in a different area of the office but rather now from their kitchen table. I’ve always said that the problem with most work stations is that they are not custom made and everyone is a slightly different size. So, while the work station in the office tries to be ergonomic it may have subtle deficiencies that can cause large problems over years. Now we have a different problem in that the at home work station isn’t even trying to be ergonomic. It is usually the kitchen table or on a laptop on the couch or bed. These will cause large problems in weeks or months. This is exactly what we are seeing in the office. Patients are coming in daily complaining about their new at home work stations and the pain that it is causing. It seems that working from home is going to continue for some time yet and likely even after this pandemic is over it will probably be more common to have at home work days for many businesses. Now is the time to invest some money and energy into the best work station.

Here are some tips for what to look for:

1. The sit/stand work desk is ideal. This allows for changing body position and activating postural muscles through the day. This decreases the strain put on the low back and the upper thoracic spine.

2. Look at getting a ball chair. These things may look weird but they are very effective at forcing the postural muscles to be used while sitting. When postural muscles are used there is less strain on the spine.

3. When using a regular chair, look at getting a foot stool to rest your feet on. Raising the feet actually takes strain off your low back.

4. Take breaks. It’s far too easy while working at home to just keep working and not take any breaks. It’s important that you at least get up and walk around the house every hour. Inactivity is really hard on the body.

5. Make sure when you are sitting that your arms are at a 90 degree angle. This will decrease strain on your upper back and wrists.

6. Don’t lean into your computer. Try to have a neutral posture.

7. Drink lots of water and minimize the coffee intake. Well hydrated tissues are less likely to stiffen up and cause pain.

8. Try to go for a 20-30 min walk after work each and every day. This will help add to your step count and will also help you to de-stress.

9. If you’re still finding issues with your workstation then come and talk with us at the office and we can figure out the real cause of your discomfort.

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