With the start of lockdown level 5 in March 2020, our lives have changed drastically. Working from home, ordering groceries online, wearing a mask and limiting social gatherings have become our new normal.
Chiropractors are treating more and more computer-related injuries from working longer hours, taking fewer breaks during the day, sitting incorrectly while working and also moving less during the day. Other pains such as eyestrain and wrist pain are also reported.
Initially this was not a problem as we all thought the COVID-19 pandemic will pass quickly, but now as more time passes by everyone is experiencing some form of discomfort. For that reason, I thought it to be a good idea to give you some top tips for perfect posture and great ergonomics.
As it pertains to posture of the head, for every 2.54cm the head moves forward from the central line, the loading on the spine is increased to 4.5kg. What this means is that if the average person leans forward to look at their laptop, the load on the neck changes from 5kg (in an upright and correct posture position) to 19kg (in a bent forward position). Just imagine the stress on the lower back caused by slouching and sitting incorrectly when we take into account the weight of the whole upper body moving forward of the midline.
So how do we fix this?
I am going to give you a few pointers to help with your work setup to try and avoid these problems
- Your chair should allow you to sit upright, with your arms relaxed at your side and your hands/wrists at a 90-110 angle to your desktop. Make sure your armrests are not too high for you as this can cause shoulder shrugging and result in muscle spasms.
- Your legs must be able to go under the table. The height of your chair should have your thighs horizontal to the floor, with your feet resting flat. If your feet don’t touch the floor, use a footrest.
- Ensure that your chair has a good back support so that you can sit upright. Talk to us if you want to know more about lumbar support cushions.
Monitor and Work Station
- Your workstation should be positioned to avoid glare from the windows and overhead lighting.
- Ensure that your computer screen is about an arm length (40 to 75cm) away from your eyes and that the top of your screen is at eyebrow level.
- Adjust the monitor angle and height so that you are looking straight forward with the neck and shoulders relaxed.
- Adjust the brightness of your screen according to your comfort level on a regular basis.
Keyboard and Mouse
- Shoulders should be in a relaxed position, arms horizontally in front of you, and the mouse within easy reach.
- Keep the mouse as close to your keyboard as possible.
- Keep your wrists straight and flat, NOT bent up or down.
- Your keyboard should be fairly flat or on a negative slant.
- If documents are being typed up, place them on a clipboard or recipe stand just behind the keyboard so that you don’t have to turn your neck while typing.
- Any gadgets that you use on a regular basis (e.g. phone, calculator, stapler) should be about 25cm away from you.
- Don’t cradle your phone on your shoulder while using the computer; when multi-tasking, hold the phone in one hand and the phone in the other, use a headset or speaker phone.
I hope these tips can help you remain pain-free during this pandemic. Should you experience any aches and pains, please feel free to chat to us and get the healing process started. For all your online booking needs head over to our Centurion Practice or Laudium Practice0