NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It's in times like these that many realize that a 'work home office' is certainly not ergonomic. It was cool to be working from your bed, in your PJ's but with the pandemic, it's no longer sustainable.
Irving resident Mohit Jalori knows a thing or two about pain he suffered because of his bad posture while at work.
"I have had issues in the past where I have a pain in neck and shoulder area area," he said over a Zoom call to CBS 11 News. "When the pain hits you that's when you realize the mistakes you have made,"
With millions of people working from home for weeks, possibly months, everyone is looking at their home office a little more closely.
"People are starting to become more unconformable working from home," says Dr. Nikki Weiner, occupational therapist and ergonomic specialist who heads Rising Workplace – a company that provides ergonomic assessments.
"Physical complaints I am hearing about is this upper back and shoulder and dominant arm pain and that is because of working at a kitchen table or working on a chair not adjustable by height that causes one to reach up to work."
A good work -life balance has boundaries. Dr. Weiner says it is important to have a work area to go to at home. She says at the minimum, have a designated work space at home. She recommends using white noise machine or an app to help keep sudden noises from distracting you. A white noise is a dull, continuous noise, like that of an air conditioner or waves.
"Research has shows that it helps attend to what we are doing and filter out the distractions."
GOOD WORK FURNITURE
Dr. Weiner says nothing can substitute a good table and chair that supports your back.
"You can do that by putting a pillow behind your chair or using a towel roll and positioning at your lower back."
Second, make sure your feet are resting on the floor. If you are using a laptop, use a mouse and a keyboard if you have it. She says that can help with the posture. Bring your laptop to eye level so you are not stooping down to look at at the screen.
If you are broad shouldered and working off a laptop, you might have your wrist deviate inwards while typing. Dr. Weiner says it might be a good idea to use a keyboard.
A neutral pose is the natural way the body falls.
"When you are sitting or standing you want ears over shoulders over hips -- everything is in a line," she said. "You want to have your arms relaxed on the side. No upward reaching, that sustained over reaching that will have an inflammatory response over time,"
Finally taking frequent breaks is important.
She says research out of Cornell University shows that changing position every 30 minutes is beneficial. She also recommends following a 20-20-20 rule for eyes. For a good stretch, she says, focus your eyes 20 feet away for about 20 seconds, after every 20 minutes.
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