Strategies for working from home.

It’s over four weeks into the great COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 in San Francisco. Everyone is working at home, and spending more time at home.

Over here at the office, we have been open with limited hours as the Department of Homeland Security has deemed chiropractors as essential service providers. The reason: chiropractic care can provide conservative musculoskeletal pain relief, which can ease the burden of emergency departments.

A lot of our practice is patients who receive periodic supportive care for old injuries, or for the effects of repetitive injuries for poor posture at work. So for these “elective” visits, people are wisely staying at home.

But since we are here at the office, we have had a few patients who had aggravated their back pain, and it’s been mostly because of working from home.

Most people just don’t have a good work from home setup.

So, to help you out, I wanted to relay this list of tips from the American Chiropractic Association for setting up an ergonomic work from home set up:

  1. Find a quiet place to work that provides a distraction-free experience. Where can you work from home where you can go without interruptions and where you can change working positions if you need to?
  2. Sit upright in a good chair. Sit so you are on your “sit bones”–your ischial tuberosities. And, sit upright so you have a little arch in your low back. 
    • Note: My patients who have been coming in are having a lot more stiffness in their low backs from couch sitting. Try to sit upright.
  3. When sitting put both feet on the  floor. Use a foot stool if your legs don’t reach the floor. Your bones should carry the weight of your body when your spine is in a neutral position. 
  4. Use a keyboard tray that allows you to pull your keyboard toward you. 
  5. Keep your screen at eye level. Keep your screen close so you don’t have to lean in to read what’s on the screen. 
  6. Relax your shoulders so they drop down. Remind yourself to let go of the tension in your shoulders. 
  7. Lift up your chest. Point your sternum upward so your shoulders can roll back and your head can remain over your shoulders. 
  8. Avoid forward head posture. Be aware of what your head and neck is doing. For every inch forward, the weight your neck has to carry increases by 10 pounds. 
  9. On the phone a lot? Use a headset. 
  10. Take micro breaks. Get up. Move around. Use a pomodoro timer to work for 26 minutes, and take a break for 2-4 minutes. 

Posture is a shared human experience. It’s easy to collapse into bad posture. But, being aware of how you are sitting or standing is important. Ryan Todd Lloyd, DC

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