Have you been experiencing back, neck, or joint pain while working from home? Or maybe you’re concerned about suffering from poor posture and limited mobility in the future as a result of working out of your home office.
Whatever the situation, with some help from a friendly chiropractor, you can optimize your at-home workspace to be posture-friendly.
What Are Ergonomics?
When it comes to discussing workplaces, the word “ergonomics” gets tossed around a lot. Like many words in the English language, “ergonomics” comes from a combination of Greek words (specifically, “ergon,” which refers to “work” or “labor,” and “nomos,” which refers to “law” or “usage”).
Simply put, ergonomics refers to working in such a way that you abide by the natural principles that will be best for your body’s long-term health and wellness, including your posture and workplace safety.
With much of the workplace (including most people who work from home) operating in white-collar professions, ergonomics is often applied to issues related to working from a desk.
As a result, the ergonomics we’ll be focused on will be interested in creating an optimal home office setup to reduce stress and strain related to working all day at a computer.
Principles of ergonomics include:
- Taking the natural mechanics of a person’s body into account.
- Using technological means to reduce joint discomfort.
- Finding even small ways to improve overall comfort while working.
Taken over a long period of time, these ergonomic principles reduce the risk of workplace injury (such as carpal tunnel syndrome, pinched nerves, and mid- or low-back pain) while improving your morale and, consequently, your daily productivity and work performance.
Chiropractors and Ergonomics
Since chiropractic care is all about providing healthcare for patients suffering from back pain, neck strain, joint issues, and similar concerns, there is a significant overlap between the interests of chiropractors and office ergonomic experts. A chiropractor will know how to relieve everything from chronic back pain to pinched nerves, as well as find ways to help you prevent future injury.
In addition, a skilled chiropractor who has experience working with tech employees and office workers will know how to analyze your posture, teach you proper ergonomic mechanics for working from home, and even craft a personalized plan to help you tackle any pain or mobility issues as part of your daily routine.
Chiropractors can help you build a solid foundation for working from home, including improved posture, healthy movement, and wellness tips that will equip you for lifelong health and productivity.
How to Create an Ergonomic Workspace
As mentioned above, a licensed chiropractor will be able to diagnose and treat specific musculoskeletal injuries you may have experienced as a result of poor or nonexistent ergonomics in your work-from-home office space. Something as simple as cradling your phone between your head and shoulder while typing with both hands can lead to conditions like chronic or acute neck pain.
After performing a gentle yet pain-relieving adjustment, that same chiropractor can then give you pointers and instructions on how to make your at-home workspace more ergonomic and posture-friendly.
Some of the most essential factors to consider include:
- The position of your desk
- The quality and dimensions of your office chair
- The placement of your desktop or laptop computer monitor
- The relative position of your computer keyboard and mouse pad
A slight change in any of these details can have a profound effect on your work-from-home ergonomics. One of the most important things to invest in for a healthier home office is a high-quality chair. After all, this throne is what you’ll be sitting in for at least eight hours a day, five days a week!
Try out different chairs to find out which one allows you to keep your feet flat on the floor and your thighs parallel to the floor (meaning that your knees will be bent at a 90-degree angle). The backrest of the office chair should allow you to sit upright but not ramrod-straight, meaning the chair will support your spine’s natural curve (especially the lumbar spine) without any slouching.
Ergonomic equipment is critical for many reasons, from reducing eye strain through adequate office lighting to supporting proper posture throughout the workday. However, taking the time to develop optimal posture (something that chiropractors are well-equipped to teach you about) is equally important, if not more so.
When seated at a desk, your elbows should be at a roughly 90-degree angle, with the shoulders relaxed with the help of a solid ergonomic chair. At all costs, avoid slouching or hunching over while working at a desk, and keep your hips as far back against your chair as possible.
Your mouse and keyboard surface should likewise be situated so that you can reach them from a neutral position without straining your wrists, arms, or shoulders. You’ll know your screen height and chair height are aligned when you can stare straight ahead, allowing your eye level to rest on the top third of your computer screen.
To further reduce eye strain, you should keep your laptop or desktop monitor at arm’s length. If you make use of a dual-monitor setup, make sure to place your twin monitors equidistant apart to avoid straining your neck through constant neck rotations.
If you use a standing desk or a sit-to-stand workstation, practice proper posture while working on your feet as well. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground shoulder-width apart, all while maintaining the same 90-degree angle in your elbows and relaxed shoulders, as mentioned above.
At-Home Stretches and Exercises
On top of teaching you the right way to sit and stand while working from home, chiropractors can also teach you the proper stretches and similar exercises you can do on a daily basis to keep your muscles loose, develop more robust flexibility, and prevent injuries related to a sedentary environment. Many of these stretches can be performed at your desk during a lunch hour or brain break.
One of the best all-around stretches you can do while working from home is the Seated Spinal Twist. When performed carefully, this spinal health technique can relieve tension and help your back feel relaxed after several hours of work. While keeping your chair stationary, slowly rotate your torso to your right or left, making sure to keep your neck even with your torso rather than turning it.
Use your chair’s backrest for support as you stress. Stop before you’ve turned your torso a full 90 degrees, hold for a few seconds, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat this stretch on the other side. Another great stretch is the Wrist Stretch, which can keep your joints loose after long periods of sitting and typing. Stand up and hold one upward-facing palm out in front of you. Use your other hand to gently press down on your outstretched hand’s fingertips until you feel a gentle stretch in the forearm and write area. Hold for as long as you’re comfortable, then repeat on the other side.
Apart from stretches like these and many more that your chiropractor can teach you, taking a walking or standing break every hour or two is essential for workplace ergonomics. Simply devote a couple of minutes to stretching, walking briskly around your house, and otherwise getting your heart rate up.
Preventative Measures for Long-Term Health
Finally, a chiropractor can help you create a more ergonomic workstation through preventative care. Your chiropractic care specialist can produce a personalized plan that keeps you limber and pain-free through regular adjustments, soft tissue massages, and more.
While these treatments may seem as if they’re devoted purely to solving present-day problems, they can actually keep you healthy in the long term as well. By reducing pain, improving your overall mobility, and helping you reduce tension in your body, your chiropractor can equip you to be better able to handle conditions that would cause injury in other people.
Contact Deep Roots to Schedule an Appointment Today
Are you looking for a chiropractor who can help you finally live pain-free? Then, Deep Roots Health Center is here to help you! We specialize in Neurological-Based Chiropractic Therapy options and offer care for low-back pain, neck pain, and similar conditions, including many of the common sedentary injuries that arise from work-from-home office setups.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see how we can help you.