5 Steps to an Ergonomic Work Station

Whether you work at a desk all day or are a student, the effects of a sedentary position for long periods can cause lots of pain! We treat a number of back, neck, elbow, arm and wrist pain associated from poor ergonomics. Here’s 5 steps to prevent these injuries and work more effectively.

1.  NATURAL POSTURE

You should be sitting at a comfortable position when at your desk, but this doesn’t mean slouching! Most people find their seated position at their desk is similar to when they are sitting in their car. Ensure your feet are flat and parallel on the floor. Place your hands are in your lap; and relax your shoulders as you lean back just a bit. Make sure you are sitting with the weight just behind your sit bones, the bones under you bottom. Your tail bone is slightly curled back : this is your natural curve in your lower back.

This comfy position is called your “natural posture.” In it, your vertebrae are stacked, your entire back moves as you breathe, and your pelvis is positioned so that your spine is stacked properly.

Memorize this natural posture. Since we’ve been taught to “sit up straight” and “tuck in” the tailbone, it won’t be an easy change. If it helps, pretend you have a tail!

With this in mind, you can start building an ergonomic workstation that supports this posture.

 

2. Keyboard and mouse placement

Building around the natural posture, the keyboard and mouse should be positioned in a way that keeps your elbows to your sides, and your arms at or below a 90-degree angle. This way, the muscle load is reduced and you’re not straining.

HEIGHT: Position your keyboard 1 to 2 inches above your thighs. For most people, that probably means employing a pull-out keyboard tray. Alternatively, you can lower your desk, but the keyboard tray is a preferred method.

TILT: The keyboard should ideally be positioned with a negative tilt — down and away from you, so that your arms and hand follow the downward slope of your thighs. That being said, never use the kickstands provided underneath most keyboards.

POSTITION: Ideally, your keyboard and mouse should be shoulder-distance apart and as level as possible. A couple of things will help you achieve this.

First, consider purchasing a keyboard without a number pad, as the number pad puts the letter keys — your primary input tools — off-center. As for keeping the mouse and keyboard level, you might want to raise your keyboard with some DIYing, or get a flatter mouse.

3. Screen POSITION

Setting up your screen, or screens, doesn’t have to be complicated. Arrange them in this order, and you’ll be set.

DISTANCE: If your screen is too far away, you’ll start doing something ergonomics experts like to call “turtling,” or craning your neck. Place the monitor too far away, and you’ll find yourself extending to reach it.

To find the ideal spot, sit back and extend your arm. The tips of your middle finger should land on your screen.

If you have two monitors, set them up side by side (no gap), and place the secondary monitor off-center. Those who use both monitors equally should center them both.

Now, sit back and extend your arm and pan in an arch. As you pan your arm, your finger tip should almost always touch the monitors. Use the same logic when placing other items, like a document holder or a phone.

HEIGHT: To adjust the height, try this ergo trick: close your eyes. When you open them, your eyes should land on the address bar. If not, lower or raise the monitors using the built-in option, with risers, or with a book.

ANGLE: Finally, tilt the monitors down just a smidge to avoid reflections.

STEP 4: ADJUST THAT CHAIR

Your chair is your best ergonomic friend. It supports your back, your bottom, and your posture. There are many chairs to choose from, but only a few important things to look out for.

SHAPE: Think back to your natural posture. With your tailbone sticking out just a bit, and your vertebrae in their slight curve, the lumbar portion of your spine points in toward your belly. To help you sustain this posture, find a chair that offers good lumbar support.

LENGTH: When you sit down, there should be a little space between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees, about the size of your fist. Depending on the chair, you might be able to adjust the seat depth accordingly.

HEIGHT: When you sit, your feet should be on the floor (not dangling) in front of you, and your thighs should be slightly below your hips. Shorter folks might need to use a footrest, while extra-tall types might need to adjust the height of the desk.

If you ever find yourself tucking your feet behind you, sitting on one leg, or in another funky position, you chair needs to be adjusted.

STEP 5: GET UP AND MOVE

After all is said and done, there’s one final piece that you can’t simply set-and-forget: physical activity. Take a break at least once an hour to walk around the office or stretch. If it helps, set an hourly alarm as a reminder.

No matter how ergonomic your workstation is, stretching your body is the only thing that can combat the health issues that arise from prolonged sitting.

If you continue to have pain please book in with on of Embody’s physiotherapists and we will have you pain free in no time and ensure that you can:

‘Embody the life you want!’ 

 

Setting New Year’s Resolutions: We are here to help!

The New Year is almost upon us and chances are you are planning and setting some goals or at least thinking about how you want 2018 to unfold. Whether you have decided to get back into exercise, focus more on your health, run a marathon or tackle a long-standing injury – we are here to help!

It’s all well and good to set New Year’s resolutions, but the struggle comes in sticking to these resolutions and accomplishing them. Having the right resources and support around you can make all the difference! Your Physiotherapist is here to help you reach your goals.

These are just a few of the things your Physiotherapist can assist with to make 2018 a great year:

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Lauren:

Are you a Mum? Was 2017 all about helping others? Maybe 2018 should be about “filling your own cup”, because how can you look after others if you are not healthy? Lauren loves to help Mums of all ages achieve their goals; whether it be improving their pelvic floor muscles, decreasing their aches and pains or feeling stronger.

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Karolina:

Setting a New Year's Resolution to get back into running? Karolina treats many runners and can assist you in creating a plan, so you can get back to running and avoid injury! As a runner herself, Karolina can not only help you with any current injuries and injury prevention, but can also help you come up with the best training plan. Karolina can do a video analysis of your running to give you specific tips to have you running much faster and more efficiently! 

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Courtney:

Are you an athlete looking to make the most of your pre-season training? Or perhaps you have an injury that needs some rehab before the sporting season starts again. Courtney enjoys seeing the sporting population.  She can help you perform at your best for the 2018 season.

By sharing your goals with others, you are more likely to achieve them. Be sure to let your Physiotherapist and the Embody Team know what your goals for the New Year are. 

Call us on 6110 3331 or book online so we help you accomplish a healthy 2018!

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HEADACHES? DON’T PUT UP WITH THE PAIN

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Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…It’s that time of year… That joyful season where we catch up with family and friends, eating and drinking far too much, giving and receiving gifts and enjoying the beautiful summer days! For most of us though, it is also a very busy period, where we rush around for last minute gifts, the shops and carparks are full of people, there is places to be and a long list of things to do. That’s cause enough for a headache! However, if headaches are a common occurrence in your daily life, you understand how debilitating they can be. Now might be a good time to resolve that pain. After all, you don’t want to have one of those horrible headaches whilst Christmas shopping, Jingle Bells paying on repeat!
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There are many types of headaches. However, one of the most common forms of headaches are ‘tension headaches’. Just like the name suggests, these are most commonly a result of excessive tension caused by a variety of factors.  Most people ignore these headaches, accepting the pain or they take medication, which is often ineffective.  You don’t have to put up with these headaches and you shouldn’t. Physiotherapy treatment can be extremely effective in alleviating pain associated with tension type headaches. In fact, this is a common thing we treat at Embody.

Causes

Most tension headaches will be a result of the muscles in the upper back and neck being stiff.  Factors such as stress, fatigue, poor posture and looking at a computer/phone for too long are some of the contributing causes.

Symptoms

A common symptom for tension headaches is the feeling of pressure in the head.  Some people will experience the pain behind their eyes and particularly at the back of the head. Neck pain is a major cause of tension headaches and many people will experience a stiff and tender upper back. If you have a tension headache, it will be difficult and painful to move your neck.

Treatment         

Physiotherapy treatment has become one of the most prominent and successful treatment forms for alleviating tension related headaches. At your consult your Physiotherapist will assess you and determine the cause of your headache. They will assess the possibilities of why your neck may be stiff and address this. A variety of treatments will be administered depending on the individual. This may involve joint manipulation and mobilisation in the upper spine to address postural issues.  Stretching and strengthening will also be prescribed to establish long term pain relief. Another treatment may be dry needling, you can read about this here.

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Headaches? Call us on 6110 3331 or book an appointment online so we can help you with your health this Christmas.

How ‘Dry Needling’ can relieve your pain

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What is Dry Needling?

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Dry Needling is the insertion of a very fine, sterile needle into tight and stiff muscles (also known as ‘trigger points’). The aim is to relieve pain caused by these muscles by reducing tenderness.  Dry needling can also help to increase the circulation to a muscle. It is an effective treatment for regaining movement and alleviating pain.

Dry Needling can be beneficial for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems, including (but not limited to): low back pain, tension headaches, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, buttock pain, calf tightness/spasms. 

 

What happens?

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How does it actually work?

In simple terms the needle releases those stubborn tight muscles. Usually the needle is left in for a minute, or several minutes. The Physiotherapist may also ‘fan’ or move the needle to elicit a twitch. This causes the muscle to loosen and as a result alleviates pain in that area.

What does it feel like? Is it painful?

Most clients describe a cramping sensation, or a small electric shock feeling – some find it hard to describe, others don’t feel the needle go in at all!

 

Are there any side- effects?

You may feel a temporary ache (or sometimes tightness) in the area – this should dissipate within 24 hours. Side effects are usually mild, and may include bruising, fatigue and a temporary increase in pain. Dry Needling is a safe technique, and the side effects are minimal compared to drugs or surgery.

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Often people ask about the risk of infection. Strict regulations require an aseptic procedure, involving a sterilised needle, with single use (per client), alcohol swab wipes, adequate practitioner hygiene (hand washing) and correct disposal of needle (sharps bin). Infectious status must be declared via the client (usually via a New Client form) and likewise the practitioner is responsible to have no infectious status.

Trained health professionals have the anatomical knowledge and practice to avoid any areas of the body which may impose more risk. So yes, Dry Needling is very safe!

Ongoing muscle soreness or stiffness? Dry needling may well be the solution. Call us on 6110 3331 or book an appointment online to discuss how dry needling can help you.

Why should you see a Physiotherapist?

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8 Reasons to See a Physiotherapist

You may be aware that a physiotherapist is a healthcare professional who focuses on the musculoskeletal system. They help improve mobility, relieve pain, and much more.

But the exact reasons people come to physiotherapy vary as much as the treatments themselves. Why should you see a physiotherapist? Keep reading, and you may discover that you’re long overdue a visit.

 

1. Your doctor is too busy.

Physicians can treat physical injuries, but many don’t have the availability to spend the kind of time with a patient that a physio does. They also may not have the training to provide the particular kind of hands-on treatment that a physiotherapist does. 

2. You need a diagnosis.

Or, you want a doctor’s diagnosis confirmed, or explained in greater detail. Physiotherapists are anatomy experts who can teach you more about your body and how it works.

And there’s no need to worry that you’ve come to the wrong place. Physiotherapists know when you need them, and they also know when you need a different specialist or physician.

3. You’re trapped at a desk.

Humans didn’t evolve to sit all of the time. Moreover, focusing on a screen constantly as you do so can distract you from being aware of any tension or problematic posturing that will eventually cause pain.

A physio will get you moving with purpose. You’ll increase your flexibility and learn more about what’s making you ache. This way, you can learn to build healthier habits that are easier on your spine.

4. You’re very active.

If you’re a competitive athlete, a physiotherapist will have this in mind as they aid in your recovery. They’ll take your fitness level into account and teach beneficial exercises to do on your own time.

This way, when you’ve got a clean bill of health, you can get back to what you love to do. You’ll leave with a greater understanding of what went wrong, and how to avoid it in the future.

5. You have lingering pain from a traumatic injury.

If you’ve suffered a traumatic injury, like a car accident, the hospital is (and should be!) the first stop on the road to recovery. Yet many of us know that months down the road, we’re left with lingering reminders of those injuries.

Physiotherapists understand that just because an injury has technically healed, it doesn’t mean that it no longer impacts your body. They can help you work through any remnants of the trauma.

6. You have chronic pain.

Treating conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia often involve a multi-prong approach and lifestyle changes in order to enjoy lasting results.

Seeing a physio is essential to anyone who is trying to manage their life while dealing with chronic pain. Specialists in muscle and joints, physiotherapists are uniquely qualified to help you sort out what treatments (heat, cold) and exercises are appropriate, and when.

7. Returning pain is stifling you.

Consistent painful flare ups are a major sign that something needs to change. If you’re trying to avoid surgery, a physiotherapist is your best course of action.

Physios know how to relieve pain because they understand precisely what’s causing it. They can also help you alleviate other worrisome symptoms like numbness or tingling. Additionally, they’ll help identify what causes your flare ups, so you know how to avoid aggravating it further.

8. You’re focused on healing.

Finally, it’s very valuable to recognize that many kinds of illnesses - even mood disorders - take a toll on our bodies.

Building a relationship with a physiotherapist can take extra pain and pressure away, so you can concentrate on true healing and total wellness. It’s one of the most practical, evidence-based ways to care for yourself.

 

What is mastitis?

What is mastitis?

Did you know that Physio can help lactating breast conditions such as blocked milk ducts and mastitis? Physiotherapists with special training in women’s health can treat women with these common conditions using a combination of therapeutic ultrasound treatment, education and advice.