Many of us are now working and functioning full time at home, and this can have an adverse effect on our spinal health and full body wellbeing. By improving your ergonomics at home, you can continue to maintain spinal health and alleviate back pain symptoms that result from poor posture and less-than-ideal workspaces and habits.
As your Beverly Hills chiropractor, Tannenbaum Chiropractic encourages optimal spinal health by offering simple options for improving at-home ergonomics.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is essentially the science of human factors in a workplace. Improving your ergonomics, therefore, is understanding the importance of arranging your workplace to fit your body’s needs. Poor ergonomics, or poor workplace design and habits, lead to spinal misalignment, back and neck pain, and soreness—all of which can cause injury and debilitating discomfort.
How to Improve your Ergonomics at Home
There are several measures you can take to improve ergonomics at home, including the following:
- Adjusting your workspace: Simple steps like adjusting the position of your chair, laptop, or even keyboard can have a drastic effect on your posture and cause discomfort. Rather than transforming a bed or couch into what may seem like a comfortable workspace, you should work at a desk or table with adequate foot and leg room so you are sitting close to and directly in front of your laptop or desktop computer. Using a separate keyboard and mouse can also improve this simple positioning.
The height of your computer is also important! Your screen should be at eye-level, so you are not compressing the spinal vertebrae in your neck. This can be accomplished by sitting in a chair with adjustable height options, or by using a laptop raiser. Even a stack of books or small box can act as a makeshift raise that will alleviate neck pain caused by poor positioning.
- Maintain good posture: When sitting, ensure you are sitting straight up and avoid slumping or elevating your shoulders, which can put unnecessary and unnatural pressure on your neck and back. It is normal to roll your shoulders forward while typing—but this can create an unnatural curve of the upper back and spine. If you do not own a chair with proper back support, you can use a rolled towel or blanket for extra lumbar support to help. A pillow can also help provide comfort from a hard chair.
When standing, the same consciousness is necessary. Stack your spine by keeping your head, neck and torso in a vertical line—head over heart, shoulders over hips. Do not slouch or put weight into one leg or the other or twist your spine.
- Change up sitting and standing: You should alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day to maintain awareness of your posture and positioning. By changing it up, you are keeping your body moving, and therefore avoiding potential pain or injury by staying stagnant for too long.
Take micro-breaks by stepping away from your workspace completely and taking a short walk around the room. Focus on posture, breathing, and moving your body naturally to alleviate stiffness and avoid soreness.
- Do targeted stretches throughout the day: Practice neck hygiene by gently dropping your ear to your shoulder, and your chin to your chest in 30 second intervals. Do not roll your neck in complete circles, as this may strain your spine.
Stretch your shoulders, back, and chest. Rolling your shoulders in full circles will relieve soreness. Stretching your arm across your chest or behind your back by putting gentle pressure on your elbow will ensure proper posture and alleviate upper back pain. Don’t forget about your hands and feet! Gentle massages and occasional rolling of these often-forgotten parts of your body will help improve nerve function and blood flow.
At Tannenbaum Chiropractic, we care about your health in and out of our care facilities. Improving your ergonomics at home by making small, conscious adjustments can vastly alleviate pain symptoms and help provide comfort between chiropractic care visits.
Call our Beverly Hills chiropractors today and let us help you achieve the pain-free life you have always wanted!