New: Are you working from home?
Are you now working from home? For many people this was a fast and unexpected transition. Also with students now starting to do virtual schooling, it is more important than ever to make sure you help promote a safe workstation to help improve posture and prevent headaches, neck and back pain.
First, make sure your workstation is set up in a way that promotes a healthy posture. Position your monitor right in front of you, so that you are not having to have your head turned for an extended period of time. Also be sure to have the monitor tilted in a way that promotes a neutral head position so that you are avoiding prolonged head flexion or extension. This also applies if you are using dual monitors.
Second, your keyboard should be at a height that allows your elbows to be at a 90 degree angle and your wrists are able to remain in a neutral position, avoiding wrist extension that can promote or exaggerate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) symptoms. Lastly, your chair should be adjustable and at a height that allows you to keep both feet on the floor and knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
If you are using a laptop, it is more difficult to promote a healthy posture. See if you are able to get a docking station to allow using a separate monitor for desk top use. Use a full external keyboard and mouse instead of the laptop keyboard and pad, which can cause more extension of the wrist, making wrist pain and injury more likely with repeated use. Using a laptop on your lap also makes it more likely that your shoulders will rotate anteriorly causing and increase in the thoracic curve making midback discomfort more likely. The screens of laptops tend to be lower and smaller than an external monitor, which causes people to lean forward when they are trying to read or look at images, further promoting more posture and neck strain.
Be mindful of your posture throughout your workday and be sure to take frequent breaks, incorporate stretching, increase hydration and keep regular adjustments to promote good posture and function.