Is Ergonomic Office Equipment Worth the Investment?

As previously covered on VerticAlign, sitting at your desk all day isn’t as harmless as it seems. Our bodies aren’t designed for long periods of inactivity; rather, we’re meant to be pushing, pulling, bending, lifting, and turning often throughout the day. This is difficult to accomplish when you’ve got a job that has you working at a desk all day, and we’ve already talked about Why a Standing Desk is NOT the Solution. Instead, companies should prioritize employee comfort by investing in more ergonomic office equipment.

What represents ‘ergonomic’ office equipment? Pain Free Working claims that there’s so much more to the word than the employees’ comfort, as it also involves improving the overall efficiency, productivity, and safety of every member of the staff. A cohesion of these physical and mental factors should improve workplace conditions.

Here are some supportive and ergonomic office equipment worth investing in:

Back Rests

Changing the entire office’s chairs can be quite expensive, but there are many backrest options available on the market. Some are even self-inflating to ensure maximum lumbar support to your desired degree. They can even be used in other environments like long commutes.

Contoured Seat Cushions

Another wise accessory for chair support is contoured seat cushions which are flexible enough to accommodate varying weights. They help evenly distribute your weight, which lessens the strain on your lower back and hips from stiff and non-adjustable seats, especially if you will be sedentary for most of the day.

Memory Foam Mouse Pad

The ideal wrist position shouldn’t be bent but kept straight to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is one of the most common overuse injuries. There are various mouse pad options that conform to your movements and even offer gentle massages to reduce strain when needed.

Adjustable Stands

Adjusting entire desks can be a struggle across different offices. An adjustable monitor stand or riser can help you elevate your computer monitors to the right eye level. Some of these models include a second level where your keyboard and mouse can sit. There are also stands for laptop users which make typing much easier because of its adjustable degrees.

Task Light

Sitting in front of a computer all day and overworking your eyes to read the fine print of documents can cause great strain to your eyes, and can even cause eventual headaches. Shifting between reading on a screen and on paper requires different levels of light levels. A task light is beneficial in reducing eye strain as it can adjust to optimal levels of required light for different tasks.

An article on Business Insider warns that desk jobs can destroy your health. Factors don’t just include your peers and supervisors who add pressure to the equation, but also your positions and movements (or lack thereof) that put you at greater risk for muscular-skeletal disorders, obesity, heart disease, and the like. Investing in the right equipment means investing in the well-being of your people.

Of course, if you want to take better charge of your health and posture and eliminate the aches and pains that come from years of inactivity, you can start with our 10 Minute Daily Desk Pain Solution or sign up for some of coach Zeena Dhalla’s posture solutions today.

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The Most Important Holiday Exercise

It’s a ridiculous time of year. Joy, happiness, gratitude, and merriment are all supposed to be the important emotions. But isn’t it STRESSFUL trying to actually FEEL these emotions when suddenly you have a thousand things on your plate?

So today I will highlight my most favorite of exercises of all. In fact… you really can’t call it an exercise. Because all you do it lay there and RELAX! Doesn’t this sound amazing?

As benign as it looks, this particular position (called Static Back), has actually eliminated pain for clients almost immediately. I had one client recently report that his hip pain rated at a 9 (out of 10), dropped down to a 3, in one week of doing static back. Just ONE week!

So when you are taking a breather from online shopping, or baking Christmas cookies, or decorating the tree, or making plans, all you have to do is lie in this position for 5 minutes. Get in the correct position, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and relax. 

There are many bio mechanical reasons why this position is ultimately amazing for you body. First, the hip-flexed position (with your knees bent and directly above the hips) is great for realigning the pelvis if you happen to have rotation (a lot of people do). Holding this position also mildly activates the flexors of the hip. In this position, the thoracic spine is forced to open up and the hands up position helps to open the chest and encourage external rotation in the shoulder joint. Once you’re in this position, gravity and breathing can help realign the body and provide immediate relief to your spine. The goal is to hold Static Back for 5 to 10 minutes a day. 

Here are some more important quick tips on how to perform Static Back correctly:

  1. Find a chair or ottoman that is the correct height for your legs. You want to make sure you have a 90 degree angle at the knee and at the hip joint. The knees should also be placed directly above the hips (not wider). If you notice your legs “splay” out to the sides when you prop up your knees, this means the chair/ottoman is too low for you.  Add a few folded blankets under your shins to elevate the lower legs. There is a great option for a block that works for a lot of body sizes that you can purchase HERE
  2. If you find your head uncomfortably tilted back (where you are looking at the ceiling behind you) that means you might need to place a small rolled up towel under you head. Otherwise keep your eyes looking directly up, turn your palms face up to that your thumbs almost touch the ground, and plant your arms at a 45 degree angle.  
  3. Engage in deep diaphragmatic breaths. Inhale deeply as you expand your ribcage to the sides, then exhale deeply letting all the air out. Do this slowly and deeply and really think about the air moving into your ribcage (versus your neck and shoulders). 
  4. If you want more chest opening, and you know you tend to internally rotate the shoulders (most desk job warriors do!), then try the position below. Take both arms and place them like football goal posts on either side of the body with the palms face up. Be sure not to flare the ribcage up towards the ceiling. Hold this position for 3 to 5 minutes. 

Enjoy this… my holiday gift to you! Please comment below and let me know if you’ve tried this position before. If not, I would love to hear how it feels! I respond to every comment!

Have a safe, healthy, and UPRIGHT Holiday season!

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Construction Job Back Pain… RESOLVED!

Some results can’t be summed up in a picture. In the case of this client, Jon, his pictures don’t tell the whole story. Sure, his posture has shifted. But not nearly as much as the shift in his daily energy, his pain relief at his construction job, and his focus on daily pain relieving exercises.

The time between these two pictures is approximately 5 months. In that time, Jon discovered, that when doing his posture therapy exercise menu regularly, he was able to work at his construction based job with less pain, and better productivity.

When he didn’t, his body suffered.

After taking some time off, he came back for more sessions and exercise menus that both integrated therapy techniques (with some tough full body exercises that challenged him) and kept him engaged.

I’ll let him tell you his story in his own words:

“Half of my job is physical labor and one day my back hurt so badly, I had to lay on the floor and NOT move. I was in trouble.

Zeena walked me through some simple stretches that eliminated the pain immediately. I couldn’t believe it. She sent me home with a daily routine to survive the physical demands of my job AND stay out of pain. It worked.

In subsequent sessions she has slowly taken me back to full strength and new routines that rival my army days in the gym.

Her expertise saved my back and my career. I am deeply grateful and look forward to her continued therapy. “

Find out more about VerticAlign’s Posture Therapy Programs, here.

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