Given the digital nature of today’s world, it’s not uncommon to spend most of your time in front of a screen, whether in our professional or personal lives. In most cases, this is often coupled with sitting for extended periods of time, which can do a number on your body if you’re not careful.
Some of the most common causes of pain in your knees, back, or shoulders due to poor ergonomics include bad posture, improper furniture, incorrect keyboard or screen positioning, and not moving enough.
October is National Ergonomics Month, so we wanted to take some time to share our favorite tips to keep you living comfortably and pain-free in your knees, back, and shoulders. These can work whether you’re at the office or hanging around at home. Let’s dive in.
Ergonomic Do’s and Don’ts
Invest in a Good Office Chair
A good office chair will greatly support your lumbar and neck to prevent shoulder and back pain. If yours feels like it’s missing some of these key features, you don’t have to go out and get a new one right away. Household items like cushions and towels can help make your seat more comfortable.
Don’t Let Your Feet Dangle
In a similar vein, you’ll want to make sure your feet touch the floor and that your knees are at a 90-degree angle. This helps reduce the strain on your lumbar and prevent back pain. You can use a stool, books, or a box to help achieve this posture.
Get up and Walk Around
Getting up every 20 to 30 minutes, if you can, will go a long way toward promoting your ergonomic health. These can be 30-second “microbreaks” where you can shake out your arms and hands and refocus your eyes on something about 20 feet away from you. If possible, taking a longer break every few hours is recommended to help stretch and loosen everything up.
Don’t Hunch Over Your Computer or Phone
Good posture can be hard to maintain throughout the day, but setting up as straight as possible helps to reduce the strain on your shoulders and back and improve core strength. A way to prevent this is to use an external monitor or laptop stand so that the address bar on your web browser is at eye level. This also means answering emails on your computer rather than your phone, so you can practice proper posture better.
Set Your Workstation Properly
Along with the right chair, you’ll also want to make sure your desk or table is at the right height. Your elbows should naturally fall flush with the top and rest at a 90-degree angle, which will help promote better wrist alignment and reduce carpal tunnel stress. You can also consider investing in an ergonomic mouse and keyboard to help reduce this strain. This also means avoiding working on the couch (even if it is comfortable).
Stretches to Relieve Pain and Tension
- Place your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder.
- Breathe in and out to release the area between your shoulder blades.
- Bring your shoulders to your ears slowly and hold for three seconds.
- Rotate your shoulders back and down.
- Repeat at least ten times.
- While sitting, interlock your hands behind your head and bring your elbows as far back as possible.
- Inhale deeply as you lean back and stretch, holding this position for 20 seconds.
- Exhale and relax, and repeat one more time.
- While sitting, extend your foot in front of you and slowly rotate each foot from the ankle three times in both directions.
- Relax, placing your foot down on the ground, and then repeat one more time.
- Do this on both sides.
If you’re feeling like your aches and pains are lingering longer than you like after following these ergonomic tips, don’t hesitate to give us a call or book an appointment online. Our team of expert professionals will help you find the proper treatment for you and get you feeling back to normal sooner than later.