Regardless of whether you are working from home or still going to the office, good posture plays a roll in your overall health. Some of us are working from home now and have created new work spaces that may or may not be working adding unnecessary strain to our ligaments, muscles, and joints. Lack of meetings or walks through the work site means we are getting up less frequently resulting in joint stiffness.
Our ligaments, muscles and joints are designed to take on force more efficiently when they are properly aligned with good posture and positioning. Over time poor positioning will lead to abnormal wear and tear to the joints as well as our muscles and ligaments become confused of what is right. This leads to greater risk of injury when we are challenging our bodies with more difficult movements and activities.
Work station tips:
Adjust chair so that your bottom is right at the back of your chair, your feet rest flat, and your hips are slightly higher than your knees
Use a footrest. Books or a small step
Make a lumbar roll
Use a pelvic wedge. Homemade version: fold a towel and place on the back half of your seat.
Forearms should be horizontal, keyboard directly in front, and no reaching for the mouse.
Armrest should allow arms to rest without having to slouch or hunch your shoulders
Some armrest can be a hinderance if it means you can’t move your chair in close enough to your desk.
Motion is Lotion
Our bodies were designed to move. Movement lubricates your joints and changes where the weight falls through your joints. No matter how good your posture, sustaining it for long periods of time can become painful. Take breaks little and often rather than long breaks.
Set A Goal
Your ideal goal should be to get up every 30 minutes. Maybe start with 1x every hour and work toward 2x/hour. This is a great opportunity to use your phone alarm or reminders!
Here are a few exercises I would suggest as you incorporate those breaks throughout your day. They only take a few minutes. If you get up to go to the bathroom stop in the doorway and stretch.
Lie on your back in the supine position with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Maintain contact between your knees and feet, and tighten your abdominal muscles for the duration of the exercise.
Now rotate your legs to the left to the limit of your ability, make sure the opposite shoulder remains in contact with the floor throughout the movement. Move back to the neutral position and repeat, alternating sides for the desired number of repetitions. Do not rotate the legs to a point beyond which the arms and shoulders can no longer maintain contact with the floor. Perform this exercise in a slow controlled, manner within the range of your mobility. 2-3reps, 30 second hold to each side.
Hip Lateral Rotator (piriformis) stretch
Lie on your back with both knees bent.
Cross one leg over your other knee, placing the outside of your ankle just above the knee. Let the knee that you crossed drop out to the side, and bend your other leg, sliding your heel towards your buttocks.
You may feel a stretch through your leg that you crossed through your buttock.
To increase this stretch, interlace your fingers behind the thigh and pull towards you, lifting the foot off the ground.To increase this stretch further still, push your elbow into the thigh of your affected leg. Hold this position 30 seconds 2-3 reps each side.
1/2 kneel hip flexor stretch
Kneel down on one knee; use pillow If needed. Ensure your rear knee is directly under your hip and your front knee is in line with your front heel. Now squeeze the glut of the knee that is down while tightening your stomach. Stretch should be felt in the front of the hip. Maintain the position for 30-60 seconds. To vary or increase stretch side bend away from the knee that is down.
Pec doorway stretch
Place forearms along door frame. Keeping your forearms on the door frame take a step forward and feel a stretch across your chest. Keep your core tight not allowing your back to arch backward too much. Also watch your head position doesn’t become too forward. Hold 30 sec 3-4 reps.
Lat doorway stretch
Stand in doorway. Cross your outside leg behind your stance leg. Rest your inside arm on the door frame to stabilized while reaching across with your outside arm. Lean away to feel a stretch along your lats.
Pec T stretch
Lay on your back using a foam roller or rolled up blanket vertically along your spine. Let your arms extend outward, palms up. 5 minutes
Things to keep in mind:
Stretches should never hurt, so if the above cause pain STOP
Start slow and work into the stretch with each repetition.
If the stretch causes PAIN or isn’t felt in the correct area there may be other limitations that need addressed first. For example a tight joint capsule.
If you notice an asymmetry, this may be a precursor to pain or be contributing to an already existing pain. If you have a motion limitation, your body will find it elsewhere. These often result in pain because a structure is being asked to take on more than it is designed to handle.
As I hope some of these are easy and helpful tips, but they are not all inclusive. Each individual may have specific deficits, different works situations, different fitness levels that make a one program fits all quite impossible.
PHYSIO can help you achieve your best. With evaluation and individual guidance PHYSIO can help you achieve your goals. I enjoy spending the time to get to know each of my clients helping them problem solve and improve how they move about their day. If it is simply to stay mobile as you age or taking care of the neck and back pain you have been dealing with for years, these are things I can help you through.
I am here to help you with the little obstacles or the the big ones that may be keeping you from doing what you like to do each day. Questions or to schedule an appointment call 440-725-0703 or visit physiotherapysolutions.net