Local chiropractor tips on ergonomics while working from home
Jul 28, 2020 03:06PM
By Susan Manning
Dr. Bradley Weiss
Working from home sounds enticing — you get to work on your own time, curled up on your couch with your laptop and a cup of coffee. But it’s not all fun and games, according to Natick chiropractor Dr. Bradley Weiss.
“As more people adjust to an at-home work life of lengthy virtual meetings, or regularly sneak back into the spare bedroom-turned-office after dinner, the right furniture and posture are critical,” noted Weiss, the founder of Performance Health Center in Natick. “They can prevent everything from headaches to eye strain, and free everyone to enjoy the many positives of home-based employment.”
Weiss, who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College, then practiced in Williston, VT, for 18 years before moving to Massachusetts and opening his Natick practice in 2002.
Dr. Weiss with Paul Stanley of the band KISS.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, his practice is seeing more and more complaints related to home offices.
“We are seeing all types of complaints depending on where and how they are sitting at home. I’ve heard almost every possible bad example of ergonomics, from sitting on a soft couch all day on a laptop, to standing over a bar in a damp, dark basement. The most common complaint is neck and upper back pain, often with pain into the shoulders,” he said.
Dr. Weiss with Justin Timberlake.
So common, in fact, are these complaints that Weiss put together a free guide: “Ergonomics Tips for Working at Home,” which people can access from his homepage (performancehealthcenter.com) and that has multiple images and videos.
But are these aches and pains limited to those working from home during the pandemic?
“If someone has a dedicated office with a desk, desktop computer and ergonomic task chair they are ahead of the game. Too often I’m seeing people with ‘real offices’ in their homes, but they are working on a laptop. Laptops are a real issue. You just can’t win. Your head is always looking down at the screen putting stress on the neck,” said Weiss, who has treated Grammy-winning musicians, executives and athletes.
Dr. Weiss with Roger Daltry of the band The Who.
“There are two solutions which are reasonably inexpensive. One is a docking station and the other is an extra monitor which is placed at the correct height, meaning the eyes looking at the upper 1/3 of the screen,” said the doctor.
What about children who are remote learning? Are there issues that they have or are they too young to start experiencing the pains like the adults?
“No, they are not too young. We are seeing many students suffering from neck and back pain due to long periods of time on their laptops sitting in compromised positions from the couch, to the kitchen table or their bed. Just like any good habit, it is best for children to learn good ergonomics when they are young,” he urged.
But there are solutions to these health issues.
“Fit is the key. Having a desk that is adjustable is preferred. I am a fan of active sitting, which is a new concept and what I believe is the ‘future of sitting,’” he said.
In fact, he believes this so much that he’s become the Massachusetts Sales Manager for the QOR360 Ariel—a special kind of chair with a unique patented seat rocker that keeps you moving, engages your core and puts you in good posture with your head over your shoulders and a slight tilt of the spine.
If you’re not inclined to try the new style of chair, Weiss had suggestions for your standard chair.
“Those who prefer a traditional office task chair should ensure it has at least the following four features: 1) adjustable height; 2) adjustable lumbar support; 3) a seat back that can be moved, and preferably in a vertical position; and 4) a seat pan that tilts, and should be tilted a little forward,” he said.
Weiss believes it’s not all up to the employee to take care of these issues. Companies should shoulder some of the responsibility
“Companies such as Google gave their employees $1000 to spend on furnishing their home office. It should be the responsibility of employers to optimize their employees’ home offices since that is where many will be working for the foreseeable future. Good ergonomics with the right office environment have been shown to increase production, decrease mistakes and reduce musculoskeletal pain,” he said.
Anyone interested in the active sitting chair mentioned above can take 10% off at qor360.com when they use the PHC code at checkout.
For additional information, please email [email protected] or call 508-655-9008.
About Performance Health Center
Founded in 2002 by Dr. Bradley (Brad) Weiss, Performance Health Center is a multifaceted chiropractic healthcare facility in Natick. They meet the health care needs of those who want to perform better in their lives—including active families, home-office workers, athletes and even Grammy-winning musicians. Their chiropractic doctors and staff use natural and state-of-the-art techniques that optimize patients’ health, improve function and decrease/eliminate pain without drugs or surgery.