Setting up your home office ergonomically (and economically)

Having a good work set up is preventative medicine. So many ailments come with our daily habits and changing them can help you both in the short and long-term. 

1. What should you look for in a home office chair? What features should the right office chair have to make it easier on your back?

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. This way we can minimize the bad effects from sitting. 

 2. How should you be sitting in your office chair? Is there a proper posture position one should keep in mind?

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. 

 3. How far away should your monitor be? How should you place your hands when typing away on a keyboard? 

To the best of your ability, try to keep your head up.

The monitor should high enough so that you can look straight ahead it. 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 in 90 degrees. 

 4. What stretches/movements do you recommend for sitting all day?

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. I also suggest walking around (even in place) whenever you are on your phone. To relieve neck tension, stretching the upper trapezius muscles, the levator scapulae, the sub occipitals and sternocleidomastid muscles will all help. 

 

 5. Would you recommend a standing desk if you don't have an adjustable desk?

 

A standing desk is a much healthier for our bodies, not just because of joint and muscle tension but also the effects on your metabolic fitness from sitting. So I definitely recommend a standing desk. 

6. What kind of pillows would you recommend for back support while working from home?  

A lumbar support pillow 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 lordosis of your lower back.

7. If you've been noticing that you've been having neck and wrist issues while at your desk, what should you do?

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. 

 

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