New to working from home?
Day 2 and you may already be wondering how your neck and back will survive working at home…
There are many things to consider in your home set up. But only 1 underlying principle. Your spine is S shaped, not C shaped. I will show you a few pictures below as to what to do and what not to do and what to be aware of, but this simple principle should govern all your home set up thinking.
A little bit more on the shape of your spine. The lower portion of your spine curves in the way, and this is key. You’ll note from the picture that I am sitting on the edge of the seat to allow my pelvis to tilt forward, which allows the lower portion of the back to curve in the way. From this base, the mid back where the ribs are will curve out the way, and the natural curve of the neck will mirror the low back. All this brings your head to sit up on top of your shoulders.
You’ll see I have co-opted the bread bin and a kids toy to bring up the screen height.
Even if my back were pressed against the back of the chair, the low back needs to curve in the way. One of the big problems with driving is that our pelvis tends to slide forward on the seat which allows the low back to curve the wrong way.
The biggest no no in all this is to sit with the laptop actually in your lap!! This allows the entire back to curve round like it is a C sharp, which is not only devastating for the health of your low back, but also your neck!
The average weight of the human head is 12lbs, about 5.5kg. For each inch of forward head carriage, which is the middle of the ear to the middle of the shoulder, there is in effect an additional 10lbs of pressure placed on the spine. So 3 inches of forward head carriage is the equivalent of a 42lbs weight on the shoulders (about 19kg!!). Now if I was to hold a bowling ball at arms length, then it would be easy to see how much tension builds up in the shoulder and how that might effect the shoulder and elbow. This is what happens to the muscles and joints of the neck, especially during an 8 hour work day.
A similar effect occurs by simply tipping the head forward to look down, for example at your phone. A 45 degree head tilt increases the weight of the head to approximately 49lbs.
The next problem to overcome is habit, and taking care of your spine when you are absorbed in your work. More information on this and some simple exercises to follow.
Find the next blog post in the series here.
White Tree Chiropractic remains open on limited hours for people in pain, who can make their way to the clinic safely. We are also offering telephone and online consultations – please contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org