Happy 2019 everyone! With the New Year ahead of us, below are some tips to help make your work environment more posture friendly and help prevent overuse injuries.
MOVE OFTEN! Try to get up every 30 minutes if possible. This can include just simply standing, getting a drink of water, or going for a quick walk around. Most overuse injuries or posture related problems come from a sustained posture. It is difficult to remain in ideal posture for a long time, as our muscles can fatigue. Moving often can allow different muscles to be active and can help us re set our posture for when we get back to our tasks.
Chair set up:
Feet flat on floor – use a stool if needed!
Sit all the way at the end of chair closest to the backrest. This avoids us over extending our back, otherwise know as “perched” sitting
Use arm rests and have elbows are your sides – this prevents strain on your forearm muscles and shoulders, make sure wrists are not bent too far up or down
Keep your back straight and rest it at the back of your chair – this allows the muscles to not be strained
Avoid poking chin forward – ears should be in line with shoulders (see below for exercises to correct this)
Computer set up
Move monitor closer! This helps prevent forward head posture
Bring screen to eye level
Swing body to look at different monitors as opposed to movement only coming from the neck
Don’t have mouse too far away from keyboard
Exercises: 10x every 1-2 hours (see below for pictures)
Chin tucks: Bring chin backward and hold for a couple seconds. Relax and repeat.
Scapular retractions: Squeeze shoulder blades down and back. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat.
Shoulder rolls: Bring shoulders up back and down. Repeat.
Often our work can distract us from the positions that our bodies get into while working at a desk. Keeping these tips in mind can help prevent overuse and posture related syndromes from occurring. Even just becoming more aware of your space and posture can really help and is a great start. You can put a sticky note or reminders in your phone to remember to do your exercises and adjust your posture! If you are uncertain about your desk set up or what posture/exercises are best for your injuries, please seek further advice from a physiotherapist so they can help determine what’s right for you!