Five tips for working from home on a Laptop or Desktop Computer  

By |2022-03-04T11:19:09+11:00March 3rd, 2022|Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain|

Have you ever noticed that you’re uncomfortable while working from home? It can be prolonged team video meetings or pieces of work that you become engrossed to the point that you look up and wonder where the last three hours went? You may feel that your head tends to creep forward towards the screen, your neck, shoulders and back protest, but you have difficulty ironing out the knots in your muscles. If it is not going away and you’re ready to make changes to help improve the situation. Here are some tips to make a start.

Your Desk?

It is best to start with your work surface. Choosing the right desk height is critical. Aim to have your forearms horizontal with elbows at 90 degrees. Your seat height may need to be adjusted.

Your Seat?

Next, source a dedicated and adjustable office seat. Sarah Thiele of Kerwin Interiors has provided thoughtful and invaluable advice when we have upgraded our office furniture over several years. One of the critical tips she gave us was to remove the arms on our office chairs. You can move the seat further underneath a desk/work surface and increase the likelihood of a much more comfortable position in front of our desktop computers. Pay that little bit more to access higher quality and longer-lasting furniture.

We replaced a couple of office chairs that we had bought over 15 years ago. The gas lifts had worn out. It is fascinating to see that more up to date chairs are broader and more comfortable. You get used to sitting in a chair that has slowly worn out. Even the new foam was more supportive. lol

Under Your Seat?

Using a chair-mat helps by reducing rolling resistance, making it easier to move from A to B in the office. Conversely, if you are on a slippery floor, specially designed castors can be retrofitted to improve the grip on the floor, reducing your fatigue of holding the chair in one place.

Your Computer Screen?

Set up a sitting or standing position as close as possible to what you would for a desktop. So, get a laptop raiser, a separate keyboard and a mouse. It’s best to have the top of the screen at eye-height

Set up for two monitors.  

I don’t have this set up: yet, but. I noticed this advice from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety.

Like using a single monitor, an appropriate set up of dual (two) monitors is essential to help reduce work-related musculoskeletal injuries.

First, determine how much you use each monitor. Do you use both equally or one most of the time?

If you use both monitors equally (about 50/50):

  • Place both monitors as close as possible in front of you. The inner edges should touch and be directly in front of you.
  • Place the monitors at an angle, creating a semi-circle.

If you use one monitor more often (about 80/20):

  • Place the monitor you use most directly in front of you as if it was a single monitor.
  • Place the secondary monitor on one side and at an angle (half of a semi-circle).
  • You may find one eye is more dominant than the other. Place the secondary monitor on the side of your dominant eye.

In both cases, monitors should still be about an arm’s length away and at the same height (eye level or slightly lower if using corrective lenses).

Your Body?

Your body needs to move. So, you need to stop and rest now and then. The length of time depends on you but taking a break each 40 – 60 minutes can help prevent fatigue. Two of the most common areas of the body that are affected include the neck and shoulders and the lower back. Here are links to videos to help you stretch these areas and lower the tension levels.

 

If you have addressed these issues and need help with muscle strain or spinal or joint soreness, we can offer help, advice and support to assist your recovery.

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7 Tips To Survive A Long Haul Flight

By |2019-07-04T11:40:10+10:00July 4th, 2019|Back Pain, Knee Pain, Neck Pain|

Are you planning on a taking a flight overseas for say 12 hours or more and have concerns about whether you will make it without a whole lot of back or neck pain? Here are some tips to help make it easier.
Let’s plan ahead.

  1. Get a neck pillow
    Firstly, can you sleep on a flight. If you can make yourself comfortable. Grab a neck pillow so that your head stays in line with the rest of your body.
  2. Ask for a Complimentary Pillow and Blanket.
    Check to see if you are being offered a pillow (you can use to pillow to support the small of your back) and or blanket during your flight. Cover yourself up if you can.
  3. Move or Shut Off The Overhead Fans.
    Careful where you point those overhead fans. If they focus a beam of cold air on your neck, then you can end up with a wry neck.
  4. Get Some Ear Plugs And An Eye Mask
    If noise affects you, carry ear plugs or get noise cancelling headphones. If light disturbs your sleep get yourself block out eyeshades.
  5. Ask If There Any Empty Seats
    To make life even more comfortable ask if there are any rows of empty seats. If you are lucky you can spread out and lie flat across them.
  6. Ask For A Bulkhead Or Emergency Exit Seat
    Sometimes it is possible to choose a “bulk head” seat where there isn’t a seat in front of you. You just have to be physically fit and prepared to help others get out of the plane if it has an unexpected landing.
  7. When Awake Get Up Every Now And Then And Go For A Walk
    If on the other hand you can’t sleep on a flight, make sure that you get up periodically e.g. each hour or two and go for a walk around the aircraft. Do some gentle stretches while standing. To make this easier choose an aisle seat or ask for a bulk head seat as above.

The above will help you both to prevent problems and make your flight more comfortable. Enjoy your holiday or business trip with one less thing to worry about. If you need help before your flight to make your back stronger and suffer less pain, we can help with a program, especially if you have a long lead time before the flight. Often clients have come to me soon after they have booked their flight a year in advance. We work together to ensure that they are fit for the trip.

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When the Rubber Side Goes Up: Recovering From Motorcycle Riding Injuries

By |2018-10-04T14:59:28+10:00October 4th, 2018|Back Pain, Knee Pain, Neck Pain|

There is nothing quite like the exhilaration of riding your motorcycle along your favourite road or track. If the rubber side goes up, you may bounce. A motorcycle injury is never fun. Your body can either absorb the energy in the muscles, tendons and ligaments or break bones. Even after your bones have healed there can be pain or restriction coming from your injured muscles and tendons. This is where we can help in your rehabilitation.

For other riders, they suffer for less obvious reasons. The more common reasons that riders come in to have treatment for include: lower back ache, pain and stiffness. Neck and shoulder pain after long sessions on the bike. Some riders have elbow and forearm pain that can make twisting the throttle or using your clutch painful. Knees can be sore because of the strong contractions involved in changing direction.

An Osteopath helps back aches and pains with a combination of loosening the back muscle tension and gentle techniques where you are in control of the forces to get the joints moving again. No sudden, unexpected manoeuvres. Back problems for a motorcyclist often occur in the “transport” or straight sections of a ride between the “twisty roads”.

Very often problems have knock on effects. When you have spasm in one area, the sections above and below the site are forced to take on some of the duties.  They compensate for the injured area. If things go on for a while, those areas start to complain and can get sore. In the case of the lower back, the thigh and hip muscles can get overused. When the thigh muscles get tight, it can affect the knees.

When your shoulders and neck are sore it can make head checks hard. As well as that it may make heavy braking and cornering difficult. This affects your safety, let alone taking away your enjoyment. Sometimes it can give you headaches. Working on the muscles around the neck, gently stretching and getting you to contract and relax the muscles helps mobilize the little but very important neck joints.

If you have sore elbows, it could be a number of things. You may have old injuries or your posture on the bike. This is where squeezing the tank is very important. It means that you take more of your body weight on your lower limbs as opposed to supporting your weight on your wrists.

Your body is like your motorcycle in that it is a physical structure and mechanism. If it gets knocked out of shape or alignment it needs tweaking, tuning or maintenance to bring things back to normal. Things don’t get better by themselves. In fact they can progress and get worse.  It’s important to do something at the right time as opposed to leaving them. This is very important with a new injury. We help to return to you to where you where before the injury. In the case where you have had an injury for a long time, it takes time to help the body know what normal feels like. There are times when consistent treatment over a longer period helps to make you feel even better than you have been in a long time. You actually feel fantastic.

You may be affected by something other than this when you ride your bike. If you have any questions about what we can help with please ask us.

 

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Head Check?

By |2017-10-23T20:08:59+11:00December 14th, 2010|Neck Pain, Sports Injuries|

Whenever you are on the street, whether as a pedestrian or as an operator of a vehicle, the ability to do a head check is very important to your safety. Head check is a term used particularly in the motorcycle rider training to describe the action of turning your head and looking over your shoulder to check to see if someone is in your blind spot. A similar manoeuvre is important for any one operating a vehicle on the road. In particular it is important before changing lanes. With a move to higher density housing and greater use of street parking there is so much more of a need to be able to know what is going on all around you. So, if you have a stiff neck the risk of an incident is increased.

As an Osteopath, I see many people who have been affected in this way and have helped by restoring and when necessary maintaining people’s optimal range of movement. Patients can have such conditions for a number of reasons. Some have only had the condition briefly e.g. they slept badly and woke up with it while others may have had an injury from the past e.g. whiplash or sporting injury.

In terms of driving a car, it could be argued that with the correct set up of your mirrors you should be able to cover all your rear vision. There is a method that I re-visited a few years ago and I have a link to it here:

Changing your mirrors:
http://www.wikihow.com/Set-Rearview-Mirrors-to-Eliminate-Blind-Spots

However, just to be on the safe side, I always do a headcheck and utilize as much peripheral vision as possible before changing lanes while driving or riding.

In a similar vein reversing the car quickly becomes an issue not only as a result of a stiff neck, but sometimes a stiff mid or lower back. Some of these issues seem to have been addressed with reverse parking cameras and sensors in modern cars. However, it’s almost human nature to want to have a look around to see if there is any danger.

In many occupations, we are in doors more often than not and we can almost become detached from the weather condtions out side. Having ridden two wheels of various forms, I know that it is important to wear the correct gear to suit the conditions. Things like turtle furs and neck tubes are a great way to keep a layer of warmth around your neck. Apart from these outdoor pursuits, I often advise patients to utilize these and/or scarves to maintain heat around their neck after treatment in order to get the best results. Unless of course it is a very hot day.

So, if you are having any difficulty seeing everything around you when you walk, ride, drive or fly, you may well benefit from Osteopathic treatment.

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