Ergonomics in the workplace is a topic most have had some experience, but have you ever thought about your ergonomics at home? Usually we spend more time at home than at work, but home ergonomics are rarely considered yet can be just as damaging.
There are a few simple rules to remember when evaluating ergonomics. Your primary goal is to maintain a neutral spine which is when your ears are over your shoulders, shoulders overs hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles. When sitting think ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips but the knees will be forward. You just need to apply those principles to the different postures at home. Below are some examples.
Watching television: Couches are usually terrible because they do not provide support for your lower back, so it flattens putting extra pressure on your discs. I recommend a straight chair or recliner, but if you must use a couch use a lumbar support such as a small pillow or folded towel in the small of the lower back directly above the buttocks. Whatever you sit on, take a break and walk around the house at least once an hour. Those changes will protect the lower back but to protect the neck you need to make sure you are looking straight with your head level. That means the television should be directly in front of you.
Reading: Bring the book up to your eyes as much as possible rather than bending your head forward to see the book. If reading an ipad there are holders to use next to a chair or bed, just google ipad holder.
Computer use: Most of us use laptops at home, which unfortunately are impossible to make ergonomically sound without extra parts. That is because when on a table the screen will be too low for your head. The best way to use a laptop is to attach a wireless keyboard and mouse which can be found for as low as $25. With the wireless keyboard you can raise the screen to eyelevel and keep the keyboard at the proper level which is with your shoulders relaxed and elbows at 90-70 degrees.
If you have questions feel free to email questions to me at [email protected] or ask on your next visit.