Posts Tagged ‘Ergonomics’
I guess my issue with this wallet is my issue with America in general and how disconnected we are with our bodies and what we do to them. I would not be surprised if this person blamed genetics on their problems! (oh, my father had sciatica, too!) WAKE UP AMERICA! Sitting on a 4 inch thick wallet will cause problems. BIG PROBLEMS!! Funny thing is that there was less than $20 in that sucker. I can’t believe what people do to their bodies! There is a victim mentality when it comes to the state of people’s health:
- “It runs in my family” is the biggest excuse I hear
- My husband “gave me” his cold – your immune system strength is your responsibility
- “Oh, it’s just Stress” – like there is nothing that can be done about it. FYI: Stress KILLS!
I am writing about this because I am on the front lines when it comes to helping people get well and the insanity by which people live boggles my mind. There are so many excuses that I hear on a daily basis and the truth is that when the time comes where health slips away, no amount of time, money or energy will be enough to bring it back.
Please let me help you help yourself. I am here to assist and yet cannot do it for you. I can’t make you eat veggies, drink water, get adjusted, exercise, relax and be good to yourself. Lets work together so that You Can Be Well, too!!
P.S. Check out this link to give you more info on why NOT to put a wallet in your back pocket.
Your position when holding the telephone receiver can cause problems in the neck area which lead to headaches, neck tension, pain and stiffness. An estimated four million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, most of which are caused by neck problems. One major contributor to displaced vertebrae in the neck is the telephone.
Most people do not realize that awkward positioning, such as cradling the phone on the shoulder and bending the neck to fit the ear to the receiver, can throw the upper region of the spine (neck) out of balance. Pain can result as vertebrae become misaligned or locked, leading to abnormal muscle contraction and irritation of the nerves of the spine.
Headaches, another symptom of such a misalignment, are another way the body signals that something is wrong. Headache sufferers spend almost $2 billion a year on over-the-counter pain remedies that do not correct the problem. Painkillers only cover up symptoms that may become more serious. The cause of the headaches remains.
One proper posture, to avoid pain from vertebral misalignment when using a telephone, is to sit up straight, keep your head level and switch hands from time to time to equalize tension. Another is always hold the telephone with one of your hands and never cradle it between the neck and shoulder.
Chiropractic care can dramatically reduce headache pain because it corrects nerve system dysfunction that causes headaches. If your work requires repetitive actions that strain the neck and back, seek regular chiropractic adjustments to restore proper nerve system function. Feeling great can become an everyday occurrence with regular chiropractic care.
A new study, just published in Spine Journal, reports on an investigation of the muscles of the suboccipital triangle and their relationship to cervicogenic headaches (headaches that are caused by subluxations in the neck.)
This got me thinking of a problem I see in over 75% of patients that come to my office: Forward head posture. This position (see picture) puts the neck in an extended position which puts pressure on the nerves that go to the muscles in the back of neck, right under the skull (the rectus capitus muscle group).
This study reports that those muscles connect to the dura mater. The dura mater is the outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes, or meninges, covering the brain and spinal cord.
During the anatomic study of thirteen cadaver specimens, it was discovered that eleven of the 13 specimens had a connection between the rectus capitis posterior major muscle (at C2) and the spinal dura mater.  A previous report by Hack (Spine 1995)  discussed a connection found between the rectus capitis posterior minor and the dura mater and its relationship to cervicogenic headache.What is most interesting in this new study is that manual traction of the rectus capitis posterior major resulted in gross movement of the dural sheath from the spinal root level at C2, all the way down to the T1 nerve root. Hack previously suggested that:
“It has been speculated that the function of the muscle dural bridge may be to prevent folding of the dura mater during hyperextension of the neck. Also, clinical evidence suggests that the muscle dural bridge may play an important role the pathogenesis of the cervicogenic headaches.”The authors of the current study concluded that “various clinical manifestations may be linked to this anatomical relationship.” This is where Chiropractic comes in and the stress put on these upper neck structures from forward head posture becomes an important thing to evaluate.
According to Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III), for every inch your head moves forwards, it gains 10 pounds in weight, as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned. That’s because because they have to work that much harder to keep the head (chin) from crashing onto your chest. This abnormal positioning also forces the suboccipital muscles (the ones that raise the chin) to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the 3 suboccipital nerves.
This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of the skull. Pressure on the suboccipital nerves can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches. It is these nerves and muscles that have the relationship with the dura mater and therefore the brain and headaches.
If you are suffering from headaches of any kind, take a look at how far your head is in front of your shoulders (they should line up ear over top of shoulder.) Chiropractic has great success correcting this postural abnormality and when corrected, can lead to less pressure on upper neck and significant reduction of headaches.
1. Anatomical Connection Between the Rectus Capitis Posterior Major and the Dura Mater
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 (Jan 27)
2. Anatomic Relation Between the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor Muscle and the Dura Mater
Spine 1995 (Dec); 20 (23): 2484-2486
Proper posture simply refers to maintaining the body in a position which protects against excessive stresses which cause injury, while requiring a minimal amount of muscular effort to maintain. In other words, a comfortable position which will not irritate your spinal tissues.
Posture plays a significant role in the development of chronic conditions such as chronic back and neck pain. Poor posture is responsible for overstretching ligaments and other supportive spinal structures as well as exhausting spinal musculature, all of which quickly leads to the development of chronic spinal pain.
Proper Seated Posture
Learning and practicing proper postural habits will help reduce the likelihood of acquiring back and neck injuries, reduce spinal degeneration, and help keep your spine and body happy and healthy.
Prolonged sitting is a frequent cause of back and neck pain. And while extended periods of sitting are best avoided, for many, it’s a fact of life.
When sitting, it’s important to keep the back straight, knees bent, and head centered over the shoulders. Slouching forward may be comfortable and allow the spinal muscles to relax but gradually overstretches spinal ligaments, leading to back and neck pain among other problems. We always encourage patients to maintain a “neutral spine” position at all time is ideal.
Seat Backrest – The proper chair has a backrest which slightly inclines backwards. This has the effect of relaxing the spinal musculature and decreasing spinal discal pressure.
Armrests – Armrests provide support for the arms which helps to reduce the work load and stress on the trapezius and shoulder muscles. The armrest height should allow the forearms to comfortably rest while being low enough to go underneath tables or desks in the work area.
Lumbar Support – Having a lumbar support either built into the chair or inserting a portable lumbar support helps to maintain your natural lower back curve. These small supports are quite handy, effective and relatively inexpensive.
Seat Bottom Angle - The seat angle relative to the floor is more of a personal preference than an exact science, as long as a neutral spine can be maintained in comfort. In general, the more the seat bottom tilts forward the more extension of your lower back will occur to keep you in a neutral position.
Seat Height – The height of the seat should be so that it allows you to sit all the way back in the seat while your feet are still able to reach the floor. If they can’t and you’re stuck with the chair, use a footrest to remedy the problem.
In addition to the suggestions provided above, it’s important to:
- be aware of your posture throughout the day and be sure to maintain a neutral spine -no slouching
- take mini breaks on a regular basis when in a prolonged position and remember to stretch
- have the right equipment and tools for working in a prolonged position, use ergonomically designed furniture and keep a lumbar support in your car for “chair crises”
Although standing is something we do everyday most of us have never really given “the art of proper standing” a second thought. Many people are actually unaware that their standing habits can contribute to their back and neck problems.
If you’re one of those people, the following “general standing guidelines” should help you out.General Rules For Standing
- maintain a straight spine rather than slouching to the side
- avoid slouching forward or hyper-extending
- keep the chin up with the head centered over the shoulders
- keep the feet slightly less than shoulder width apart
- keep the knees slightly bent
- wear comfortable shoes and leave the heels at home
- avoid standing still for long periods of time, rather, sit down or move around
Approximately 1/3 of our life is spent lying in bed, on the couch, and on the floor. Like other positions, there is a right way and a wrong way to lie. For individuals suffering from pain, modifications may be necessary to obtain a “pain-free” position or a position which does not aggravate the pain.
Lying On Your Stomach
Extended periods of “stomach lying” should be avoided. This is because excessive stress is placed on the joints of the low back and because excessive rotation must take place in the neck. Neck pain, back pain, headaches, dizziness, as well as arm paresthesias are commonly experienced when in this position for an extended period of time. If you must lie in this position to relieve pain or for some other reason, keep one leg bent with the same side arm raised with approximately 90 degrees of flexion at the shoulder and elbow joints.Lying On Your Back
Most people find lying on their back to be a relatively comfortable position. For individuals suffering from back problems, placing a folded pillow underneath the knees will help reduce tension in the lower back and make this position more tolerable. Some individuals may also find placing a small pillow or towel under their lower back to be helpful. This will help to maintain the natural curve of the lumbar spine.Lying On Your Side
Lying on your side is a favored position by many individuals. It may also be a comfortable position that provides relief for individuals with back problems. It’s important while in this position to have adequate support for the head and neck. A pillow which fills the gap between the head/neck and the bed should be used to keep the head and neck in line with the rest of the spine. Additionally, placing a pillow between the knees will help reduce lumbar and pelvic torsion. Women with larger hip and small waists will find a small pillow under the waist will prevent lateral bending of the spine while lying on the side.[Translate]
The British Chiropractic Association has been in the news recently with a study they did on men with back pain and man bags. Apparently 60% of men polled use a man bag and 66% of the men polled also have had back pain. The man bags they wore had an average weight of 6.2 kgs (13.7 lbs) with a laptop usually making up the most weight in a bag.
Man Bags and Back Pain
Do you use a “man bag“? I wonder does a laptop bag count as a man bag?
For many, a man bag can be cool or not so cool from a style point of view. It also depends when do you use a man bag. If you carry lots of goods like laptop, tablet PC ( ipad, galaxy tab etc…), papers or files, I can understand the need for a daily man bag.
You can see below the contents of one guys man bag (reading book, mobile phone, camera, wallet, mp3 player, pens and pencils, note books). No notebook, netbook or tablet PC here.
According to the poll taken it would seem quite a few men in the UK use a man bag. Also quite a few men get back pain who use man bags. Most back pain studies say the population in general does experience back pain so that is no surprise. I do wonder if there are that many man bag UK men out there, maybe London.
I do believe that heavy man bags, hand bags, ruck sacks, school bags etc… repetitivley carried only on one shoulder can contribute to a back pain episode.
I guess also if you don’t have a car and want to do gym after or before work you would need a bag to carry all your gym things in. That might be quite different from the trendy man bags being used by football stars and celebs like David Beckham. What would David carry in his man bag?
How To Carry a Man Bag to Avoid Back Pain
So with all the talk on man bags how should you carry a man bag in a back friendly way.
Man bag back friendly tips according to the British Chiropractic Association article would be:
- Alternate the shoulder used to carry the man bag
- If using a single strap style man bag carry it across your body with strap on one shoulder and the bag on the other hip
- If there are two straps use them and have the back close to your back not near your bum like a school boy
- Decrease the weight of the bag by not carrying things you don’t need for that day
- Try not stay in one position long with the man bag like standing on the train. Try move around or the man bags position
At the end of the day a man bag can contribute to a back pain episode because you are carrying a weight and it can be asymmetrical weight on your body forcing only certain muscle to work. If you repeat this daily then this could be a problem for you in the future or currently just like always carrying your wallet in the same back pocket causing a “wallet sciatica.”
If carrying your man bag is unavoidable, use the tips above AND see your chiropractor so that the stress on your spine and nerve system can be removed with gentle, specific chiropractic adjustments. Just like a brick layer cannot stop lifting bricks for a living, carrying a heavy bag might just be a necessary evil. Use Chiropractic to alleviate any added stress so that you can perform at optimal!
I talked with 3 different people today about the problems they are having and how it is primarily because they have a terrible laptop posture. Let’s look at ways to improve that position to avoid injury.
In this day and age many people use their laptop as their primary computer, so it’s important to have it setup correctly in order to avoid back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal injuries or strains. The problem is that laptop computers are designed with portability in mind rather than sound ergonomic principles. Basically, if the screen is at the right height then the keyboard is too high, and if the keyboard is in the right position, then the screen is too close and too low.And laptop touchpads and trackballs are never very user friendly. Given these challenges, here are 10 simple tips for the best laptop setups:
Use a large screen. Get a laptop with the largest screen possible for your needs to avoid the stressful posture that results from straining to see the text on a small screen. Many laptops offer large screens (15″ plus), but these can be difficult to use while on the go. There are a number of smaller notebook and ultra-portable laptops on the market, and while a smaller screen (12.1″) can be useful in mobile settings, make sure that you’re able to read the screen characters and easily use the keyboard (the smaller the laptop, the smaller the keyboard). If you find yourself straining to see your screen, increase the font size.
Place the screen at eye level. Ideally, set your laptop height and screen angle so you can easily view the screen without bending or rotating your neck, and put it about an arm’s length in front of you. To do this, you will usually need to elevate the laptop a few inches above your desk, which you can do by placing it on a stable support surface such as a laptop stand or on a thick book.
Don’t slouch. Despite the name “laptop”, you want to avoid propping your laptop on top of your lap as this requires you to slouch down to see the screen.If you have to work on your lap, such as while you’re on the train, at least put the laptop on top of your computer bag or briefcase so you can raise it up slightly.
Use a separate keyboard. When using the laptop for extended periods, use an external, full-sized keyboard with your laptop and position it at a height that allows your shoulders and arms to be in a relaxed position, with your elbows at a 90° angle when typing. Ideally, place the separate keyboard on a keyboard tray beneath your desk surface to help ensure that your wrists stay in a neutral (flat) position.
Use a separate mouse. Be kind to your wrists by using an independent mouse rather than the mouse that’s incorporated into your laptop keyboard. Ideally, place the mouse on an adjustable-position mouse platform so you can keep it near your body and keep your wrist flat while using it.
Recline slightly. If you can’t use a separate keyboard and mouse, an alternative is to find a chair that allows you to recline slightly. This will allow you to position the laptop keyboard and mouse with the least strain on your neck. Angle the screen slightly upward so that you can view the screen without having to bend your neck too far down.
Prop up your feet. If you have to raise your chair so that your arms and wrists are positioned comfortably, check to see how your legs are angled. Your knees should be at about the level of your hips. If your hips are too high, you need to put a footrest or small box under your feet to prop them up and keep excess strain off your lower back.
Make your chair work for you. The type of office chair you use is critical.Basically, any office chair that is fully adjustable and has lumbar support will work, but you need to be sure to set it up correctly.Follow this diagram on how to set up your office chair.
Take a break. Take brief breaks every half hour, at the very least taking your eyes off the screen and letting them rest on something in the distance, and doing some simple stretches while at your desk, such as stretching your neck, shoulders, arms and legs. Every one or two hours, leave your desk to walk around to get your blood flowing and move your muscles. Downloadable Stretch Break™ software reminds you to stretch and gives you stretching ideas.
Travel light. Be careful when carrying your laptop around. The power supply cord, spare battery and other accessories in your laptop bag may add a lot of weight. If you carry your laptop to work and home again, get duplicate power cords and other peripheral components to leave in each place so that you don’t have to carry everything back and forth. Carry your bag across your lower back in a messenger bag style, or use a backpack with dual padded shoulder straps (and avoid draping the bag over just one shoulder). If your laptop and components weigh more than 10 lbs, a roll-along carrier is the best choice.
I realize that not all of the above tips will always be practical, but if you use your laptop daily, paying attention to how you set it up will go a long way to easing back pain and strain on your joints and muscles.[Translate]