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Is Your Workspace Working for You?

Updated: May 3

You work long hard days and finally get some time off to exercise or enjoy some downtime but your back tightens up and you miss your event--sound familiar?  Over the past few decades, the computer age has revolutionized us on a global scale, we have made great strides forward but perhaps at the cost of poor ergonomics and posture.  Years ago, while discussing ergonomics with a senior VP of a reputable computer company, she confessed that the laptop was intended to facilitate the salesperson going to the location that needed to print an invoice or marketing information.  Never did they imagine that people would gravitate to the laptop over a desktop computer; but its immeasurable assets of powerful performance and ease of portability became a point of preference.  Both desktop computers and laptops require postural diligence by the user whereas the latter demands an even more mindful approach.   Perhaps it is suggested in the name lap top, that people are misled to feel that it is okay to spend hours on the couch, with a computer on their lap, head down or slouching while surfing the internet or working.   If you have invested in a laptop as your primary computer using it for extended hours, you would benefit from standardizing your workstation.  Try to set up your station much like a desk top, raising your laptop on a desk to ensure that the screen is at eye level and consider using an external keyboard to get the right setup.  Computers are only one aspect of the workplace though, there are many areas that require attention.  

 Approximately 85% of back or neck pain in patients is a function of poor posture.

What can you do to avoid this?  For best results, here are the top 10 ways to improve your office ergonomics and still enjoy good spinal hygiene.

10.  Take time to keep up your physical shape, strong core muscles help maintain good posture and help reduce strain on the spine.

9.  Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and your shoulder, if your job requires frequent phone conversations, discuss with your company or privately invest in a proper headset.

8.  Choose a supportive shoe with good traction. For the ladies, choose a low-heeled shoe whenever possible to support your arches, ankles, knees, and lower back.

7.  If your job requires you to lift objects, bend your knees and avoid forward bending or twisting and bending at the waist. 

6.  Be mindful when packing your briefcase and pack only what you need that day.  Consider using a bag or case with a carrying handle and wheels to lighten your heavy load.

5.  If you find yourself spending hours at the computer, be sure to take frequent breaks and change your position every 30 minutes.

4.  Try to position your mouse such that it allows your elbows to stay at your side.

3.  Ideally your eye level should be at the top line of your text or slightly below. 

2. When seated, it is best to ensure that both feet are flat on the floor.

1.  And the number one recommendation is when sitting, place a small towel or cushion in the curve of your spine at the level of your belly button for additional low back support. Sit deep in your chair and pull it in tight to the desk; never perch on the edge of the seat.  

Chiropractors are part of your healthcare team to maintain good musculoskeletal health. We can help with back and neck pain, headaches, soreness and stiffness and restricted mobility.  We stand ready to help you return to good health.

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