With an increased amount of people working from home, theScandinavian Health Institute (SHI) and chiropractor Dr. Sebastian Kverneland DC, has high volumes of calls regarding neck and back pain. Many of these calls are preventable with the proper habits and routines. In this article, SHI's founder and Los Angeles chiropractor Dr. Kverneland DC, will share his top preventative tips that we can all do. These are simple but effective adjustments that will help you while working or studying at home.
We are habitual beings, and to make lasting habits takes a minimum of at least 5 weeks. So keep this in mind, and keep going with your new habits.
First off, it’s important to point out that sitting in on itself is not particularly healthy for the human body, no matter how correct you sit. So when looking for an office chair, find a chair that has lumbar support, and where height can be adjusted. If your office chair does not have this you can also utilize a lumbar support pillow, like this one. This way we can minimize the bad effects of sitting.
While sitting at your desk, it is best to keep the shoulders relaxed not shrugged. The head and neck should not be leaning forward or be turned, but right on top of your shoulders, in-line with a balanced torso. Forearms should be roughly parallel to the floor.
Keep elbows in, close to the body, and roughly 90 - 110 degrees. Keep your back straight and strong. Your lower back should have support and you should be sitting straight or even leaning back slightly. This will put your joints in the most stable position and least load-bearing position.
Your head should not be leaning forward, for every inch, your head leans forward you add an extra 10 pounds on your joints and discs, which over time will start to degenerate as they try to accommodate and adapt to these stresses.
To the best of your ability, try to keep your head up.
The monitor should high enough so that you can look straight ahead. You should also be able to see and read from the monitor without leaning your head forward to see clearly. If you don't have a computer monitor, you can put your laptop on a box to elevate the height of the screen along with a keyboard. Your arms should also have enough space to be able to be at 90 degrees.
I would recommend getting up often to move around and stretch while working at a desk. Have a reminder on your phone to get up at least once an hour to stand and move around. You can even stand up and walk around (even in place) whenever you are on your phone. To relieve neck tension, stretch the upper trapezius muscles, the levator scapulae, the sub occipitals, and sternocleidomastoid muscles.
Yes, I recommend a standing desk. It is much healthier for our bodies, not just because of joint and muscle tension but also the effects on your metabolic fitness from sitting.
Find a box or boxes that will left your computer to standing height. Make sure you have enough surface area to allow you to type without problems. It is not ideal, but it will allow you to work standing which is much better for your body.
A lumbar support pillow (like this one) that can offer support, preferably not so soft that it doesn’t give support at all. It should also be large enough to follow the curve of your lower back.
You should make sure to adjust to an ergonomic position and do these stretches and if that doesn’t work I would recommend seeing a good chiropractor (if not a physical therapist/acupuncturist to figure out why). An ergonomic mouse will work very well for those who have wrist problems. A lot of my patients use this one.
Dr. Sebastian Kverneland DC is the chiropractor and founder of the Scandinavian Health Institute in Los Angeles. He has a chiropractic doctorate from the Southern California University of Health and is in the process of being certified by the Institute of Functional Medicine. He has patients all over the world through virtual sessions. And services areas include Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Mid-City, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, West Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silverlake, Hancock Park, and Larchmont Village with in-office and home visits. His work has been featured in Martha Stewart, Yahoo!, Thrive Global and Medium. To make a virtual or in-office appointment, visit scandinavianhealthinstitute.com
For more information about Dr. Sebastian Kverneland DC and Scandinavian Health Institute, read here.