Desktop computers and laptops have provided us with more work flexibility but they have been attributed to the rise of neck, shoulder and back problems as well. Many advantages of the laptop are also the reasons why it is troublesome for us to maintain a correct sitting or standing
Some of the most common poor posture habits include slouching in your chair, hunching over the laptop, poking your chin and cradling your phone.
To mitigate the muscle tension caused by these posture habits, you can do a few strength and stretching exercises and consider implementing a few of our tips below. For instance, if you are currently suffering from back pain, merely improving your posture would probably not address the cause of your discomfort but it may relieve your muscle tension.
If your body is accustomed to improper posture, correcting it may seem uncomfortable at first because you have become used to that particular way of sitting or standing. With regular practice, proper posture will eventually become an acquired behaviour that will benefit you in the long run.
What top tips can aid good posture?
Slumping over while working at home does not always give you pain but if you are constantly keeping that position, it can put a strain on your soft tissues or muscles and eventually start to cause back pain or discomfort.
Make it a habit to properly sit on your chair. As we have mentioned earlier, you may not feel comfortable at first but with regular exercise, your muscles will be conditioned to take the correct position.
Do exercises that will strengthen your back muscles, buttock muscles and core. Planking and back extensions can help to address your slumping posture issue.
A hunched back is a usual sight we see from people using computers. This position tends to put your head forward. Keeping this poor posture long-term can cause muscle stiffness on your shoulders and upper back. It can also lead to having a rounded upper back. This position can also happen when you are using a mobile phone and may lead you to develop a ‘text neck’.
To address this poor posture, exercises for the neck, chest, shoulders and back are recommended. Doing seated cable rows in the gym, pull-ups or even lightly extending your neck and tucking your chin in can help.
When you sit too low, hunch your back, place your computer screen too high or combine all three, you may have a poking chin posture. To correct this posture, you can adjust your seating, gently extend your neck and tuck your chin in, pull your abdominal muscles so you can maintain the natural curve of your spine, or simply move your shoulder blades towards your spine.
When you hold your phone between your shoulder and ear, it can strain the muscles of your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Holding this position frequently may lead to neck muscle imbalance. If possible, use a hands-free device when taking calls or start holding the phone with your hand.
This poor posture can be corrected by doing neck rotations, neck stretches and chest stretches.
Can my workspace help me maintain good posture?
The answer is a resounding yes! To improve your work from home experience, just follow these tips.
- Make sure your back is properly supported. The occurrence of back pain can be avoided by correctly adjusting your chair. The best chair you can choose is the one with adjustable height, tilt and back position. When sitting, slightly position your knees below your hips and use a footrest if it makes you feel more comfortable.
- The chair height must be conformed to your specifications. As we have mentioned earlier, your working chair must be adjusted correctly so you can place your wrists and forearms straight while you are using your keyboard. Your elbow joint should form a letter L and hang comfortably at the side of your body. These tips can keep you from having repetitive strain injuries.
- Your feet should lay comfortably flat on the floor. If, for any reason, you cannot place them flat on the floor, take a footrest. Do not cross your legs because this will contribute or exacerbate your poor posture.
- Set your computer screen at eye level. Place your computer screen an arm’s length away from your eyes and make sure the top portion of the computer screen is at your eye level. You may need to use a monitor stand, monitor arm or laptop riser to achieve this.
- Place the keyboard right in front of you. To have the optimum typing experience, set the keyboard straight in front of you. So you can rest your wrists every now and then, put a gap of about 6 inches the front of your working desk. You may use a wrist rest if it helps keep your forearms at the same level as the keyboard.
- Position your mouse close to you. If it helps, you may use a mouse pad to help keep your wrist straight and avoid it from bending awkwardly. If the keyboard is not in use, push it aside and move the mouse closer to you.
- Your computer screen should be free from glare. Screen glare may cause eye strain. To locate the cause of the glare, hold a mirror in front of your computer screen. To prevent screen glare, cover your windows with thick curtains or blinds and avoid light reflection coming from sunlight and overhead lighting. You can also adjust the contrast and brightness of your computer screen.
- Keep your work supplies within easy reach. This will keep you from reaching for things again and again.
- Refrain from phone strain. If your work requires you to accept calls, better use a headset instead of a handset.
- Take frequent rest periods. It is not good to hold the same position for extended periods of time. If possible, change your position as often as you can. Take frequent rest periods rather than fewer long breaks.
If you are suffering from any discomfort due to poor posture, the dedicated team members of Ridgeway Health and Wellness would be happy to assist you and address your individual needs. Why don’t you give them a call on 01793 814567 today?