Ergonomics 101: Working from home during Coronavirus.

Telecommuting has become the norm in our society today, and with the pandemic we have endured and currently face, we may be at home for much longer into the future. While this may be attainable and even ideal for most of the population, our bodies may be affected in negative ways we have never dreamed of. Many people are unaware of the stress bad ergonomics places on our bodies. People can develop wrist, elbow, neck, or back pain, never concluding the cause to be that of their own doing. Sitting in a chair for long periods places compression and stress on our joints that can cause stiffness, strain, and pain in our bodies. Setting up your workspace correctly can help prevent back issues and problems in the future.

Steps for a properly seated workspace.

– Your eyes should be level with the top of your computer monitor.

– Your shoulders should be relaxed and low, not high or hunched up.

– Your lower arms should be parallel to the floor. They should be resting on a support.

– Your feet should be resting on the floor.

– Your upper back should be straight, and your chair should support your lower back.

– You should avoid slouching in your chair and keep your hips as close to the back of the chair as possible.

– Your upper legs should be at a 90-degree angle from your body.

– You should be sitting up straight, and your screen should be a full arm’s length away from you.

– You should avoid leaning to any one side.


There is also the option of working at a standing desk that may increase blood flow, good posture, and decreased stress overall placed on the body.

Steps for maintaining proper posture at a standing desk.

– Your eyes should be level with the top of your computer monitor.

– Your shoulders should be relaxed and low, not high or hunched up.

– Your elbows should be bent to 90 degrees, and the desk should be set to the height of your forearms.

– You should be standing on an even surface with your feet shoulder-width apart.

– You should avoid leaning to any one side.

Sitting for long periods can be detrimental to your body.

Being sedentary has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases.  Along with correcting your positioning at the desk, it is also essential to take standing breaks away from the computer every 30 minutes. Going to the bathroom, stretching, getting a drink of water, or grabbing a snack are good excuses to step away from the desk. Taking a lunch break away from the desk is also a good option.  Going for a walk on your lunch break is an excellent way to get your body moving and may even grant you some much-needed energy and concentration to take on the remainder of your day.

If you have experienced wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck, or back pain and cannot find relief from correcting your workspace, physical therapy can help decrease your pain and give you the tools to help it from happening again. You will be taught proper stretching, strengthening, and body mechanics based on your body and individualized goals. You will be able to get back to work feeling good again before you know it!

If you are suffering from pain and poor range of mobility we welcome you as a patient, we have over 20 clinics throughout the valley, request an appointment or come in for a free Rapid Recovery® Injury Assessment.

Lower back pain is the most common golf-related injury. This may be something that occurs with each swing, some soreness following your round, or something that is limiting you from playing as much as you like. Typically, lower back pain gets worse without a correct plan to fix it. On average, a golfer with lower back pain may take a week or two off to rest and let the pain subside. While this may be a good temporary solution, the cause for the back pain is still likely present, making it probable that you will experience this again. But why is your back in so much pain?

Believe it or not, the lower back is not typically the cause of your pain, just the source of the pain. Our lower back can be thought of as “the good guy gone bad.” This area tends to get overworked because other parts of your body are not doing their job. For example, our bodies are designed to rotate more through the thoracic spine (mid back) and the hips as far as the golf swing is concerned. Therefore, if the mid back or hips are not rotating well, then the lower back will try to rotate more. This is a movement our back is not designed to perform and over time will cause injuries.  Many golfers that suffer from lower back pain have limitations in the ability to rotate in the mid back and the hips.  When treating this ailment, it’s best to assess the hips and mid-back first and treat that before the lower back itself. If you are suffering from lower back pain, here are a couple of exercises that you can do to improve the mobility of the mid back and hips.

T-Spine Rotation Open Book:

  • Lay on right side, hips and knees bent 90 degrees. Rotate your left shoulder toward the ground as you reach back with your left arm. Your arm should follow your body. Do not extend your arm past your body. Make sure you do not let your knees come apart or off the ground.


    • Stand close to a wall, toes straight ahead. Raise one knee up and across your body so that your pelvis rotates around the stationary leg. Try to turn your belt buck without allowing your chest and shoulders to rotate. Do 8-10 reps each side.

To watch more videos, visit our YouTube. If you’re experiencing lower back pain, or would like help with your swing, we offer free injury assessments at our valleywide locations. Request an appointment today or give us a call at 480.289.5502.

Did you know that wearing a backpack wrong or choosing the wrong type of backpack can lead to lower back pain in children and teens? Studies over the years have started paying more attention to the proper use of backpacks in school, due to the frequency of increased low back pain being reported to doctors. Researchers estimate that 30 out of 100 children and teens will experience back pain, this can be a result of overstuffing backpacks or even just wearing them wrong for style. Here are some tips to avoid increased back pain in children by wearing the proper type of backpack as well as the correct use of the backpack.

1. Selecting the Correct Type of Backpack:

When buying a new backpack, it is important to look at the different types, styles, and sizes. Backpacks good for proper posture include 2-straps for the shoulders as well as added straps at either the waist or chest. An extra strap at the waist can help distribute the weight of the backpack at the hips taking some pressure away from the shoulders. A chest strap helps keep the shoulders in a better postural position, avoiding rounded shoulders, and will keep the backpack from moving side to side.  The size of a backpack should vary depending on the size of the child or teen and should not be too large in size to avoid promoting heavier weight loads; some studies suggest not exceeding 10 to 20 percent of the child’s body weight.

2. Properly Wearing the Backpack:

Wearing a backpack by using only one shoulder strap is a bad habit to break. Usually, this occurs for fashion or when students are in a hurry. When kids and teens wear a backpack they should be using both straps as well as any additional chest or waist straps to offload and evenly distribute weight. This will also keep the backpack from sliding side to side and causing stress on one side of the body if they bend or twist a certain way. Backpacks should also be adjusted to sit high on the back and shoulder for better comfort. This should cause the backpack to sit above the hips and will avoid increased stress through the spine caused by the weight of the backpack.

3. Offload the Backpack when Possible:

Students should be sensible about taking off their backpacks when on the bus and standing around class/campus. Putting away their backpacks in a locker when they don’t require specific classroom materials is one way to offload your backpack. Offloading their heavy books into cars or lockers when they aren’t needed for that day will help avoid increased strain through the spine too. Heavy backpacks can ultimately lead to changes to the natural curves of the middle and lower back and cause strain to the muscles and joints of the lower back and rib cage.

4. Adjust the Straps Depending on the Type of Clothing

Depending on the season and time of year, some students might need to adjust shoulder straps to bulkier clothing or winter coats. It is important for students to loosen the straps when taking off their backpack, and then readjust or tighten the straps back to a better position each time they use their backpack. This ensures the backpack sits properly on the upper back of the student as well as evenly distributes the weight to avoid strain.

Things to keep in mind when buying a new backpack for your children and teens are all the different types of backpacks and making sure the backpack is fitted properly for each individual. If your child is already prone to back pain, there are specific backpacks sold that are for a student with back pain and will work to avoid further increased symptoms. There are many types of backpacks and styles that will make your child happy but also will keep them healthy.

If you have any further questions on backpacks and symptoms of back pain from your children or teens contact a Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy near you!

We all know that the holiday season can be hectic and the last thing you want on your list this year is a new back. Back injuries can be frustrating, time consuming and costly to fix. Having a back injury can prevent you from being able to be fully present in all of your holiday plans. Having good postural awareness at home, in the car and at work are essential in providing care for your own back. Whether it involves baking cookies, decorating a tree or hanging lights around your house, it is important to be cognizant of having correct body mechanics. Remembering correct body mechanics during this busy season can be extremely tough, but here are four proper lifting techniques to help keep you pain free this holiday season!

  1. In lifting an object, remember to bend your knees and lift with your legs.
  2. Keep the object you are lifting close to your body.
  3. Avoid twisting when lifting, but pivot instead.
  4. Keep your core muscles tight when lifting.

Incorporating proper body mechanics, postural awareness and exercise can lead you to a successful outcome! We hope this helps you stay happy and healthy through the New Year. Happy holidays from all of us at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Downtown Phoenix location.

A strong and well-conditioned back is much better prepared to bear occasional stress than a weak back is.  Nonetheless, athletes are at a high risk for back pain and injury due to the frequency of strain on their bodies.

According to health reports, up to 20% of all sports injuries involve the lower back or neck. Runners, for instance, are prone to injury of the lumbar spine (lower back) due to repetitive impact with each stride. Contact sports, on the other hand, tend to put the cervical spine (neck) in risk of injury.

After injury has been sustained, back pain therapy in AZ is a proven solution to improve your health and reclaim your ability to function and exercise as comfortably as possible. Physical therapy for back pain can also prevent injury from worsening.

When suffering from back pain, try these exercises to relieve your discomfort. It’s best to consult a physician or physical therapist to discuss your condition and whether these exercises are right for you.

  • Ankle lifts
    • Lay on your back. Alternate lifting your ankles up and down off the floor. Repeat x 10.
  • Cat/Cow stretch
    • Lower yourself to your hands and knees. Slowly round your back upwards into an arch. Then, slowly drop your abdomen toward the floor, pushing your shoulders up and stomach down. Repeat, slowly and smoothly moving between the positions. Repeat x 15.
  • Heel raises
    • Stand up straight with your weight evenly distributed. Slowly raise your heels off the ground until you’re standing on your toes. Slowly return them to the ground. Repeat x 20.
  • Knee-to-chest stretch
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Using both hands, pull your right knee into your chest and hold it there for 15 to 30 seconds. Lower your right foot back to the floor. Repeat on the left side. Repeat x 10.
  • Shoulder squeeze
    • Sit on a backless surface. Tuck in your chin and square your chest, then stretch your shoulders backwards to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds, release. Repeat x 5.

For more tips on achieving optimal fitness and well being, turn to Foothills Sports Medicine’s physical therapy centers for compassion and expertise. With 15 locations throughout Arizona, we provide communities with the most convenient, restorative and personalized experience possible. Call us today to schedule an appointment!

about the author