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.

 

Case Study: Low Back Disc Complaint

on Wednesday, 06 March 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

Case Study: Low Back Disc Complaint

A 39 year old female presented to our clinic complaining of severe low back pain with left leg referral down into the toes. The problem had started ten days previously for no apparent reason; however, it may have been related to a lifting incident. The patient had presented to the hospital for assessment. She was given pain killers and sent her home. She presented two days later to her GP who once again gave her a prescription for pain killers and sent her home.

On presentation at our clinic she was unable to stand on the toes on the left leg. Presentations of leg referral with weakness or loss of ability to stand on the toes or standing on the heels are always a concern to practitioners. “ Hard neuro signs” can indicate significant compression on nerve roots that can create long standing complications if not addressed readily. Further examination revealed a loss of heel reflex and a straight leg raise of 25 degrees on the left hand side. Additionally there was loss of sensation in parts of the foot and lower leg on the left hand side.

The patient was referred for an MRI which showed a significant disc bulge at L5/S1 on the left hand side, compressing the S1 nerve root. Due to the loss of reflexes and muscle weakness, treatment was initiated with the requirement that significant progress needed to be made within a week or otherwise urgent referral for a neurosurgical consultation was required.

Due to lack of progress she was referred to a neurosurgeon who performed a micro discectomy. The patient presented to our clinic 1 week post-operatively for rehabilitation.

We progressed through a range of decompression exercises, re-strengthening and postural re-training exercises to help her return to normal and fortify the system to protect against future injury.

For these types of cases, patients return to work within 4-6 weeks for office work or 6-12 weeks for manual workers. Full resolution is reached within 12 months.

In this instance the patient had a very good outcome and returned to normal work and activities with no long standing disabilities or ramifications.

This type of case highlights the importance of doing affective neurological and orthopaedic testing to identify correctly what is happening. This appropriate imaging and management to ensure that serious problems are not missed and they are cared for in the most appropriate manner.

We have unfortunately seen other cases similar to this that have not been managed well that have ended up with permanent disability as a result of miss-management.

If you have a significant low back and leg referral complaint, it is always advisable to have this analysed affectively by your trusted health care practitioner.