Work from Home
Working remotely has plenty of perks: no daily commute in the morning; the flexibility to work when you want to; no strict dress code (except from the waist up when video conferencing). Unfortunately, many work-from-home habits can take a toll on our health, particularly on our spine. Work-from-home injuries can range from backaches to sprained wrists to increased headaches. Sustained physical discomfort can not only lead to chronic pain, but is also correlated with poor attention spans, decreased attention-to-detail, and decreased productivity.
Schooling at Home
With COVID-19 causing widespread school closures, children across the country are being given alternate resources, some online, to study outside of the classroom. Many of these resources involve sitting in front of a screen, and many of the same posture rules apply to children as they do adults. Proper posture helps to protect a child’s growing spine and joints. Like you as parents, studies show your children will achieve their best work in a quiet, comfortable, and dedicated space devoted to learning.
When sitting at a desk or table, adults and children should sit with their elbows, hips and knees all bent at about a 90-degree angle. Adults should have their feet placed on the ground; children’s feet should not dangle, but rather be propped up with a stool or sturdy surface at a height that keeps their knees at about a 90-degree angle. Your back is actually supposed to recline 15 to 20 degrees to keep your hips open, not be ramrod straight. For both adults and children, screens or reading material should be directly in front, at eye level, and about an arm’s length away. Looking down for long periods of time can strain neck muscles, leading to back pain and headaches.
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects 1.9 million Americans and can result in tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness in your hands and fingers. Keep your wrists flat and straight; there are specially-designed keyboards and mouses that promote keeping your wrists in a neutral position while working. Pay attention to whether or not you’re leaning forward while working; when leaning forward, you increase the compression on your vertebrae by up to 200% compared to if you can sit back in a relaxed position. Rolling up a small towel and putting it behind your back can help preserve the natural inward bending of the lower back. Proper ergonomics can help, but it may be especially hard for children to stay in such a seated position, so prioritize ensuring their reading or writing materials are properly positioned to avoid neck strain.
Take a Break
Poor ergonomics aside, telecommuting has also presented another problem: An even more sedentary lifestyle. Take a break at least every 20 minutes to get up and move around a little to promote circulation. To combat eye strain, follow the American Optometric Association’s 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes. Adults generally can sit for 30 minutes or more without getting restless, but children need to switch things up much more often. Remind them to switch up their positions every 10-15 minutes. Build lots of breaks for movement into the daily routine. Taking scheduled breaks helps children to self-regulate, gives them the physiologic benefits of movement and helps them avoid getting to the point of frustration.
For more tips or if you or your child develops neck, back, or joint pain from the work-from-home lifestyle, contact Divine Spine Yorba Linda today. Our chiropractic office is open and operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. We offer posture correction, relief from numbness and tingling extremities, and relief from shoulder, neck, head, and back pain. Proper posture is essential for overall good health. We have successfully helped numerous individuals including children correct their posture. Our computerized adjustment system gently restores motion, corrects alignment without any twisting or popping of the spine. Schedule an appointment HERE.