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One Size Does NOT Fit All!

woman working from homeRecently I was asked by one of my patients about office chairs. You see, she has been working from home for the past few months and knows that her chair “does not fit me right”, sound familiar?

All across the country more and more people are now working from home. What seemed at first as a temporary situation is now looking to possibly be more of a long term work set up and this has been causing a chain reaction of new concerns.

In July 2020, the University of Cincinnati published findings of a survey they sent out to their faculty and staff that had been working from home due to Covid 19. With specific findings to the home office chair, the results were quite alarming.

Of those that participated in the survey, 63% did not have a cushioned seat, 69% were not sitting against the chair back and 73% did not have a lumbar support. They also found that 41% had the chair set too low and most were not using or did not have arm rests. Lack of armrest use or improper use caused an increase of stress on the forearms and strain across the upper back region.

With adapting to this “New Normal”, employers and employees both must be mindful of proper office chair ergonomics. Long term use of improper chair use will eventually cause an increase of widespread discomfort which may progress into more detrimental conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders. With increased discomfort and pain due to these disorders, we will start to see an impact on company’s bottom lines through increased absenteeism, treatment and compensation costs.

I’ve found that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make some simple solutions which have great benefits to posture and ergonomics. One of the most important areas of concern is monitor height. Sitting tall in your chair and hopefully all the way back against some sort of lumbar support, your eyes should be looking at the top One-Third of your screen. A simple solution to achieve proper monitor height is to place a couple of reams of paper or similar object under your monitor.

Another common area of concern is the height and position of keyboard /mouse. When possible I recommend a pull out keyboard/mouse tray. This will help to avoid having arms reaching out in front, ideally should have a 90 degree angle at your elbow while using keyboard/mouse.

Of course there are many other factors to help overall performance and function. Those include taking frequent breaks, doing daily stretches and my favorite, getting regular chiropractic adjustments! Taking care of your spine while you go thru life will ultimately help you now and into the future.

Mark D. Roerick DC

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