by Erin Ging MS, LAT, ATC, CES,CEAS

Like many Americans, and people all over the world, we have found ourselves working from home.  Working from home is awesome right?  Pj bottoms, food close by, happy dogs that get to see you all the time, homeschooling kids, seeing your significant other 24/7, gaining some extra pounds because my pj bottoms are forgiving, wait, maybe it’s not awesome all the time. But we have to make the most of our new normal.  We have all had to discover places around the house to create the perfect workspace, whether it’s a kitchen counter, dining room table, or on the floor, and chances are you’ve discovered new pains or discomforts in your body over the past few months. You are not alone!

Proper Posture

It is true what your mother said, sit up straight and keep those shoulders back.  But that’s easier said than done when you are hunched over a laptop 8 hours a day, cooking dinner at the stove, reading to your kids when you tuck them in, and let’s not forget staring down at your cell phone.  When you think about it, we all spend the majority of our day looking down which results in a forward head/rounded shoulder posture.

This poor posture can lead to neck pain, numbness or tingling in your arms, increased pain in your middle back, headaches, and muscle spasms in your neck and trapezius muscles.  When we get these aches and pains, we quickly turn to self-care like ibuprofen, Tylenol, and heating pads but the discomfort usually comes back the next day.  Before you decide to call your Chiropractor, let’s talk about some simple ergonomic tools you can utilize to ease and even prevent these issues from happening.

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Ergonomic Tips

So, we’ve established that we need to look up and keep our shoulders back but how can we do that?

  • ·         Set your computer on a stack of books or a box- when looking straight ahead, you should be looking at the top 1/3 of the computer screen.  If using a laptop, a wireless keyboard and mouse will be a beneficial purchase.
  • ·         Make sure your computer is arm distance away.  This helps prevent eye fatigue and strain.
  • ·         Ditch the arm rest!  When you set your arms on the rests, that actually pushes your shoulders up which results in tension in your trapezius and neck muscles and can cause spasms!
  • ·         Keep your keyboard flat instead of tilted.  In a tilted position your wrists are constantly in extension and can lead to discomfort, numbness, and even carpal tunnel.
  • ·         20/20/20 rule.  Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  This gives your eyes a break and allows you to look up.
  • ·         Move!  You should never be sitting longer than 30 minutes at a time.  Get up and take a lap around the living room or do a couple stretches, just make sure to move!

There are a lot of good stretches you can look up on Pinterest or even Google, for proper posture.  It is important to incorporate a few of these a day.  Most important, listen to what your body is telling you.  If a certain position is causing you discomfort, make adjustments and prevent those chronic injuries from creeping in!

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About Erin:

Erin Ging is from Palm Springs,CA and moved to Oklahoma after High School to attend the University of Oklahoma. After graduation Erin worked Clinic/Outreach through McBride Physical Therapy for several local OKC schools. In 2008 Erin became the Athletic Trainer for Putnam City North High School where she also taught Health Careers, Medical Terminology, and Sports Medicine. She began a competitive HOSA program at PCN where she took several students to Nationals three years in a row. Erin was awarded the Gatorade District 5 Secondary Schools Athletic Trainer of the year in 2015 and she served as the Oklahoma All State Athletic Trainer for eight years. In 2017 Erin received her Masters degree from East Central University in Education and Sports Administration. Erin now lives in Broken Arrow, OK and is an Athletic Trainer, through Select Medical, at a major airline. Erin also assists with football games at Inola High School and most recently has been with Verdigris High School as well. Her areas of expertise include HawkGrips, Cupping, Positional Release Therapy, OSHA 30 Certified, Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist.