Working from Home: How to Fix Bad Posture During and After COVID-19
Are you now working from home because of COVID-19? If so, where are you doing most of your work? On the couch or while melting into the recliner? At the dining room table or at the counter while you contemplate your next meal? In bed or while rolling around on the floor trying to find a comfortable position? Working from home during COVID presents many questions and difficulties we need to sort through.
These answers matter because ergonomics are a very important factor in whether it is causing, or will cause, new aches and pains in your body. Bad posture while working from home commonly causes a sore neck, tight back, achy wrists and much more. Your work position may be the problem!
Why is posture important?
The normal for standing, upright human posture is an important measure we all need to be cognoscente of and aware of. Practitioners that specialize in the field of clinical biomechanics evaluate posture in patients as one objective measure to get an idea of what the underlying spine is doing, and how this can correlate to their symptoms.
From the side, normal posture while standing should show the center of the hip aligned over the top of the ankle, the shoulder on top of the hip, and the ear on top of the shoulder. From the front, the center of the hips should be in line with the bisection of the feet. The center of the ribcage or your sternum should be in line with the center of the hips, and the point between your eyebrows should be in line with your sternum. It’s all about energy expenditure, and this is the most energy-efficient for human posture!
The way you hold your body while you sit, stand, walk, or lay down can ultimately impact the health of your spine, nervous system, muscles, and other surrounding tissues. Poor posture can exacerbate current painful conditions while paving the way for new ones. Many of today’s common ailments, including spine pain and muscle tension, stem from or are worsened by poor posture.
Distortions in normal posture and alignment can lead to increased loading and stresses on certain areas of the body and spine, e.g. forward head posture can lead to increased tension on upper back joints and muscles. Not only can this cause an array of symptoms, this can also accelerate degenerative processes in the spine!
When poor posture is observed in individuals, usually the biggest contributing factor is poor ergonomics and what that person is doing with the majority of their day. For example, individuals with a desk job commonly present with increased rounding in their upper spine, shoulders rounded forward, and the neck protruding forward. Poor posture while sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, five days a week, say for 20+ years is a slow trauma to your spine. This later can cause your upright, standing posture to look like you are still sitting at your desk!
Tips for better posture
Posture is one of the most important (and controllable) factors affecting personal health. Here are some ways to improve your posture:
- Use a lumbar support: Whenever you are seated, use a lumbar support cushion or a pillow to support your spinal column. Starting with the support of your low back will help the rest of the spine.
- Adjust monitor positions: Make sure monitors are at eye level. Whether this is your computer, laptop, or TV. The top third of the monitor should be level with your eyes
- Move your body: Take a stretch break every 30 minutes from your workstation. In addition, in the morning get 1 hour of movement throughout your work shift (walk around the block or park), and 1 hour of movement in the evening. Movement is essential while working from home.
- Seek chiropractic care: Seek out the assistance and care of a skilled chiropractor. Working with a qualified professional specializing in clinical biomechanics and posture can help you correct years of bad posture through a specialized treatment regimen.
Maintaining good posture is a key component of maintaining the health of your spine and entire body. For more information about spine health, contact the experts at Optimal Spine & Posture in Boise, ID. Our specialized chiropractors utilize a well-researched, holistic approach to wellness called Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) to identify problem areas and find solutions. Call us today to learn more!