Improving Ergonomics to Optimize Your Telecommute & Work Set-up

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Telecommuting is a major part of the effort to contain the spread of Coronavirus, but employees who don’t practice proper ergonomics at home could be risking injury. In today’s newsletter, we introduce you to Dr. Seth Pearl of Optimal Health Chiropractic, who has an exclusive offer just for you! He also provides helpful tips related to workspace set up and posture to protect yourself while you are working from home.

What Are Ergonomics?

Often times we place the human to the desk. Meaning, there’s a desk with any type of set up whether it be good or bad, and we ask an employee to adjust themselves to that workspace and sit there for 8+ hours a day. Ergonomics is the opposite. It’s the interplay between the workspace and the human. It’s putting the desk to the person. Instead of the person having to adjust to the desk and chair like we normally see, the desk and chair are set up according to the needs of who is sitting there and what is best for their body. Typically, poor posture is the result of individuals trying to fit themselves into a workspace that’s not right for them and postural issues are the number one reason people go to doctors. It manifests usually as pain, but poor posture also can negatively impact other health variables. The good news is that it’s a very easy thing to fix once one becomes aware of their posture. 

Why is posture important? 
Prolonged periods of sitting can be detrimental. It’s been said that “sitting is the new smoking” in that being sedentary for long periods of time can impact health negatively especially when it comes to increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. But sitting for too long, and sitting in less than ideal positions, can cause musculoskeletal issues that set off a domino effect of poor health. Not only will you experience pain, sitting with poor posture can cause your body to put pressure on the nervous system (this is your brain, spinal cord and nerves), and our necks takes the brunt of it.  You may notice when sitting for too long in a crouched position with your shoulders rolled over and your back arched that you feel more tired, your brain may feel a bit foggy and you might even have issues concentrating. This is because in that crouched position, your lungs become compressed, decreasing oxygen levels and changing breathing patterns. These nervous system and immune system changes can even impact your behavior, making you feel more irritable and stressed as a result. Remember, pain is a stress, and lack of oxygen can cause feelings of stress, too.

Why is now an even more ideal time to become aware of our work set ups and posture?
Posture is always important, but it’s important to become aware of especially now that we’re forced to be in an unconventional ergonomic set up. Many of us are displaced from our office workspaces, whether or not they were set up in an appropriate manner for one’s body to begin with, and most are now put in a position where their workspace set up may be even worse. Some may have access to a proper desk and desk chair, but others may be working from the kitchen table, sitting on stools, or even on the couch. In some cases, we may be working even longer hours, or spending a lot of time on our phones. Your head weighs between 10-12 pounds when it’s in a neutral position, and for every inch of flexion (downward tilt) you add ten pounds of weight. This is why you might start to feel like your head is heavier, especially if you’re on your smart phone which we often hold below chest level, putting a lot of strain on the neck.

What are some tips employees can implement themselves at home to counteract poor posture?
We want to focus on being upright. Think about spreading your shoulders, chest proud, to open up your heart. This will improve oxygen flow and take stress off of your back. Standing and sitting with a proud chest is one of the best things you can do. Sit with your feet flat on the floor and adjust your workstation if possible so that you’re looking straight ahead at your computer monitor rather than up or down.  Every hour set a reminder to take 3-4 minutes to do some sort of stretching. With this, you will start to maintain a better posture than before if you are mindful of moving every hour. Below are three stretches recommended by Dr. Pearl to do multiple times per day. 

This is a link to some sample exercises to help improve your posture.

Corporate Spotlight: Optimal Health Chiropractic

Meet Dr. Seth Pearl, Owner of Optimal Health Chiropractic. Dr. Pearl has been in practice for 25 years treating adults, teens and babies with a focus on healing the body holistically through awareness of his clients physical, chemical and mental states. We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Pearl about why our posture and ergonomics is important, especially right now during the Coronavirus pandemic. We also bring you some tips to improve your workspace and help reduce some discomfort you might be experiencing. Below is also a special offer from Dr. Pearl.

If you’d like an understanding of your current posture, you can recieve a free, full-digital postural assessment, which will give you indications on where the stress points are in your body. This free assessment will help to bring you awareness of how you sit and stand, and you can implement the stretches that follow below to help aid in relief. 
Additionally, Dr. Pearl will provide that same full digital assessment plus specific exercises just for you and your individual results, sent digitally to help correct any imbalances identified in the assessment. You will receive a 10-15-minute Zoom consultation with Dr. Pearl as well to discuss the assessment and his recommendations, all at an exclusive rate of $75.00. **Please note, this service is H.S.A approved!

Instructions for Connecting with Dr. Pearl & Optimal Chiropractic:

1. Download the free app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store
2. Once you have downloaded the app, sign up using your current email address
3. Connect to Optimal Health Chiropractic using the following code: LCJ4-Jre7-4fW4
4. You will be prompted to send a front and side view of you standing, and your right side seated. Then click “Send to Optimal Health Chiropractic”.
5. Dr. Pearl will assess your photos, and send your results to the email you signed up with.

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