Working From Home- Physio Top Tips!
Working from home….something that some of us did on occasion and now many of us are doing on a daily basis.
As Physiotherapists, we spend many hours assessing and correcting the posture of our patients. Posture forms the epicentre or the base upon which we function. When we lose control of our alignment, our body is placed under tremendous tension and load which inevitably can lead to injury.
During movement, these injuries are called repetitive strain injuries or overload injuries.
During static positions, these injuries present as postural related pain in the form of backpain, neck pain and headaches, to name but a few.
When we are in bad positions statically for long periods of time, our movement becomes altered and we are then more prone to developing a movement dysfunction.
For this reason, understanding optimal posture is very important. Whether you have a perfect desk set-up, but sit badly in it or have a terrible set-up, but have made adjustments to your workstation which work for you….there is a way in which we can help everyone.
We have a few tricks up our sleeve which make posture easier to maintain and help to prevent postural related pain.
1. Your chair. It is very important to use an office chair or a solid dining chair when working from home. Having a supportive chair is the first step to success.
2. Sitting in your chair. Sadly, we are not all the same size and so you might need to make some adjustments to get yourself comfortable in the chair. The most important thing is that your bum is positioned right at the back of the chair (there should be no further you can go backwards). This will help to prevent you slumping from your pelvis. Your pelvis provides the base position for the rest of your spine to follow.
If you are short, you might now need a little box on which to put your feet or you might need to put a cushion behind your back so that your knees have space on the chair. If you are tall, you might need to sit on a cushion or raise your chair up. Optimally, your feet should be flat on the floor/box and your hips and knees should be tracking in almost a horizontal line.
3. The height of your desk. When you sit upright and hang your hands down to your sides, the height of where your elbows are should be the height of your desk. No higher and no lower. This is very important to prevent you slumping and hunching. At all costs, please try to adjust your desks to ensure this ratio is correct.
4. The postural sandwich. Now, sitting in the chair, with your bum as far back as it goes, move the chair in towards the desk as far as you can get it so that you become sandwiched between the back of your chair and the desk. This is the quickest way to maintain an optimal posture. Your spine remains upright and your tummy prevents you from slumping over your desk.
5. The position of your screen. When you are sitting in your sandwiched position, reach your one arm forwards straight out in front of you. Where your fingertips reach to, is how far away your screen should be from you. It should also be high enough that it is in line with your eyes. If someone is looking from the side, your eyeline, when sitting upright, should land at the junction of the top 1/3 of the screen. Use books/boxes to make sure this is the right height.
6. Laptops. For those using laptops, it is a little bit trickier, but there are lots of helpful gadgets out there these days. From laptop stands, to Bluetooth keyboards and mouse, there will be something that lets you achieve the desirable workstation which is described above.
7. Get someone at home to take a photo of you sitting in your workstation and check that you have all of the above pointers correct. You will often be able to see that something isn’t right when looking at a photo.
Images: Optimal set up of home workstation
The last few tips:
Try to stand up every 30-60 mins even if it’s just to take a call.
Drink enough water through the day: you need it!!
Ensure that your room is well lit to prevent eye-strain.
On Thursday May 7 at 12.10pm our Senior Physiotherapist Carla is hosting a live online demonstration of the above with time for Q&A with those attending. To sign up for this online live event click here.
For those wanting an online (Physio by Video) individual assessment of their home or office ergonomic workstation set up & guide email Carla on firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to book online.