Articles in Category: Ergonomics

Back to Work Ergonomics! New Year New Habits

on Friday, 18 January 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics

Back to Work Ergonomics! New Year New Habits

What better time to start new habits than the first month of 2019! We all know the importance of a ''good working posture'' and long hours of sitting is unhealthy, but trying to maintain yourself in a certain position you are not used to is actually not as easy as you think.

Have you ever tried sitting up as tall and straight as you can but end up feeling more sore and tired on your back? If your answer is YES, then you should definitely read this article.
 
Sitting posture
Let's start off with posture. Speaking to most of my patients, I realise a lot of people try to sit up straight by pulling their shoulders back as much as possible and overarch their lower back. You are actually using the wrong muscles if you do that and that is why it feels uncomfortable overtime. Sitting up properly is all about feeling comfortable and natural when done correctly.
 
Instead of overcorrecting your posture, try imagining a balloon tied to the top of your head and it is slowly pulling you up towards the ceiling while sitting/standing. That is the amount required to maintain a good posture. If you start slouching again overtime, it's okay! It's all about practice.
 
A good tip to remind yourself to not slouch is to buy coloured round stickers (your favourite colour) and stick it around your workstation and home as a reminder.
 
Double Screen Monitors
This is probably what most workstations have these days rather than the old school single screen. Subconsciously you may not realise it but, you are probably only turning your neck and not your body when switching between monitors. Over time the neck gets tired and unhappy with you.
 
Assuming most people have rotating work chairs, try rotating your body towards the screens and your neck will follow along with it. Initially you may need to do this consciously but it will pay off overtime.   
 
And last but not least..
 
The Work Chair
The thing I always say to my patients is “Hips HIGHER than knees”. When sitting on any type, brand and colour of chair, always make sure your hips are sitting higher than your knees! Most high tech ergonomic work chair these days allow you to tilt the seat forward or backwards. Play around with some of the handles at the side and it should let you tilt the back seat of your chair higher. Never let the front part of your chair seat sit higher than the back part.
 
If say you do not own a fantastic ergonomic work chair, simply fold up a towel or a small cushion and sit your buttocks right on top of it. That should give your hips a bit more height or at least at an equal height to your knees.
 
My point is, the right work habits and a good workstation set up should not be difficult and should not bring pain to your body when done correctly.
 
Remember! It is not a NO PAIN NO GAIN FORMULA!
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HAPPY WORKING! =)

Written By Iris Tan
B.App Sc (Chiropractic)
M.Clin Chiropractic

Bedding Myths

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Monday, 21 January 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

Bedding Myths

At this time of year, we find lots of people are thinking about new beds. It might be something to do with New Year's resolutions. For whatever reason, a new bed could be a good idea if your old bed is getting on in years.

I thought I might cover some of the myths and 'marketing hype' that we see in the industry.

Firstly, do I need a new bed?

How old is your current bed? Most modern beds will last 10 years. In fact, almost all new beds have a 10 year warranty. Usually, once the bed is getting over 15 years, or it has big furrows or stains, it is time to get a new one. 

How do I know if my bed is causing my back/neck pain?

Try sleeping in a spare bed. Are you better? Then go back to your bed. Is your back/neck sore again? We often find that patients start to question their own bed when they go on holidays and their back pain goes away. The bed could be the issue; however, it could also be a variance in the activities that you do in your normal life. Our tip, use this as an excuse for a weekend away. 

Non-Flip Mattresses

There is a tendency to see a lot of non-flip mattresses now. While I acknowledge that better quality materials and manufacturing can mean better mattresses, simple physics dictates that you only have one surface to wear out. So a one-sided mattress will last less time. It is cheaper to manufacture a non-flip mattress and marketing tells us it saves your back because you don't need to flip it. Our experience is the mattress will not last as long. Our suggestion... Always buy a flip-able mattress for the longest mattress life.

Pillow Tops

All the rage at present! A pillow top feels luxurious; however, this would be the greatest source of complaints about mattresses. The pillow top will generally wear out before the support characteristics of the mattress (furrows and ridges) and it seems this is very difficult to rectify or address through a warranty claim. The biggest issue with a pillow top is that if the bed is too soft, it is very difficult to make it firmer. The best solution is to buy a mattress without a pillow top and if it is too firm, then buy a great overlay. We normally suggest a gel infused memory foam overlay as they are cool, comfortable and when they wear out, it is simple to throw it away and get a new one.

'Latex is Hot'

Generally this is not the case. Good quality latex beds are core drilled and are a natural fibre. They breathe well and conform well to the body, meaning generally no pressure points. 

At Institute of Sports and Spines we stock and sell high quality memory foam overlays, latex mattresses and both memory foam and latex pillows.

If you think you need a new mattress, pillow or overlay, talk to us and we can recommend and let you trial them at the clinic to identify what is the best solution for you.

 

Degenerative Low Back Pain

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Wednesday, 23 September 2015. Posted in General Health, Ergonomics

Degenerative Low Back Pain

By Don Williams

B.Sc., M.Chiro., ICSSD., PG Dip. NMS Rehabilitation,

Cert. DNS. Memb: CAA. FICS, CEA.

 

Low back pain is an extremely common problem impacting on a huge proportion of our population.

Statistics suggest that 80% of society will suffer back pain in their lives and in any given year, almost 60% of the working population will miss at least 1 day of work due to back pain.

 

But what causes back pain and how do we address it?

 

There are many different structures within our back, neck and body which can cause pain, including; the intervertebral disc, muscles, ligaments and facet (or zygopophyseal) joints. These are simply the basic musculoskeletal structures, however, sometimes back pain can be referred from internal organs, some common culprits are; uterine fibroids in females, bowel obstructions, kidney infections, aortic aneurysms, gall stones, stomach ulcers and malignancies or cancers.

 

Obviously, it is important when you have back pain to have it thoroughly assessed to identify whether it is a musculoskeletal complaint or whether it is a referred problem or something more sinister.

 

If the problem is musculoskeletal then there may be a range of treatment options available; Including Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Remedial Massage, Exercise or Physiotherapy. Some people will find heat or ice may help and some people will respond to pharmaceuticals. In fact, if you believe some of the advertisements on Television (with celebrity swimmers posing as experts) you could be forgiven for thinking that drugs will in fact cure that back pain, rather than the reality of which they will mask the pain until the body has recovered.

 

Certain presentations or complaints seem to respond well to different intervention strategies.

What works for one person will not always work for the next person. Good practitioners should have a range of available strategies to apply based on the response of the patient.

 

We sometimes have patients present to our clinic who have been told that they have “Arthritis”, or a “Degenerative Back” and they will have to live with it, however rarely is back pain this simple. We know that in clinical presentations, the amount or level of degeneration is not well correlated with the amount of back pain people experience. This simply means, sometimes people have awful degeneration and no pain and sometimes people have great xrays with no degeneration and lots of pain. If you have been given a diagnosis of, “it is arthritis and you will have to live with it”, then seek a second opinion. You may be able to have treatment which will significantly reduce or even eliminate your pain.

 

 Degenerative Spine         Healthy Spine

                            Degenerative Spine                                                            Healthy Spine

 

There are a number of different types of arthritis which can influence or affect the spine, broadly categorised into inflammatory arthritis (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis) and Degenerative arthritis.

Inflammatory arthritis can be quite problematic. Although the disease process is not directly treatable my musculoskeletal practitioners, the normal mechanical pain and dysfunction can still be treated.

Degenerative arthritis is the process in which wear and tear over a period of time causes the joints to degenerate. This can result in stiffness or a reduction in the range of motion.  This will often respond quite well to treatment. The biggest question generally surrounds the issue of whether the degeneration has actually been there for a period of time and the pain is as a result of an overload or injury which has triggered the reaction or whether the body has hit a tipping point in which the degeneration has built up to a degree that the body is not going to tolerate it anymore.

 

Everyone starts to degenerate when they reach adulthood. Essentially there is an age correlated expectation for the amount of degeneration that we have. Issue may arise when we degenerate more quickly than expected, or when this degenerative change starts to impact on the nerve and spinal cord. The interesting thing about degenerative compression of the nerves is that the signs and symptoms are somewhat different than those we see from an abrupt episode of compression or a disc injury. This is thought to be as a result of the body’s innate ability to adapt to change and degeneration.

 

Generally speaking, the more degeneration is present, the more conservative treatment is. Just because you have advanced degenerative change does not mean you cannot have conservative treatment. Skilled practitioners will always assess your presentation and will apply treatment that takes your history and presentation into account.  People with significant degeneration may be contraindicated for certain treatment methods, which will normally be discussed at the time of treatment.

The unfortunate circumstance is that people who don’t respond well or not at all often face quite aggressive intervention and surgery, which is of course a last resort when all else has failed.

 

If you have been told that you have “arthritis”, or “spinal degeneration”, then all is not necessarily lost, they may still be conservative strategies that work for you.