When I go into an office, all I ever see is computers, laptops and chairs on wheels. These, amongst most objects in the office, are man-made objects and therefore are not instinctively natural for our bodies to use. As a result our bodies gradually mould and adapt to our environment and, depending on your workplace set-up, we usually leave the office looking like a bound up and bent over ball of tension.
Poor posture at work has been linked to an extensive list of ailments.
Here is a small list of common symptoms that can often be easily cured by correcting your workplace:
– nasal and throat congestion
– thoracic kyphosis (hunch back)
– cervical lordosis (poking head)
– chest tightness
– abdominal distension and compression
– low back pain
– neck, knee or shoulder pain
So where do we start? There are a large number of factors that affect your posture at work and some are not as obvious as you think. One of the extra services we offer at Back In Action Physio is Workplace Assessments where we come to your work and help analyse your station. Once we have given you basic tips and moved things that can be immediately fixed, we give you a comprehensive report including recommendations. I have been doing a lot more of these lately and I think it might be due to the longer hours we are working and increased use of laptops.
I usually start with the environment in your office including sunlight, warmth, noise etc and make sure you are comfortable with your surroundings. Often these can be easily fixed or at least recommendations given to office managers. Not everyone likes it hot or cold or breezy but usually a compromise can be found. It might be as simple as swapping desks with a colleague who is getting the opposite problem to you.
When we look at the hard tools of the trade, the desk is our first stop because if your desk can’t move then we must adjust around it. If your desk can move up and down then we start with the chair and make sure you are sitting with knees aligned and below hips, lower and upper back supported, arms supported and at the correct angle and head in neutral. From here we need to check your screen (which ideally is separate from your keyboard) for height, distance and glare.
We check things like where your equipment is placed on your desk, if you have enough leg room, and finally discuss breaks and pauses in your day. An assessment can be as quick as 10 minutes but the results can prevent injuries and strains for the rest of your life.