Just about every profession these days involves sitting in front of a computer for no small amount of time. Not coincidentally, there’s never been a greater number of cervical spine and lumber issues among the general population. More and more people are choosing to take their aching back and neck to a chiropractor.
Many of these same patients are often disheartened to hear that their pain is a symptom of something they can’t readily change: Their job. They feel relegated to living in pain because they’re unable to stop using their computer so much or simply get up and walk away in regular intervals.
Thankfully, chiropractors can offer insight into ergonomics as a way to restore a little bit of hope to chronic pain patients. At Ideal Spine, we encourage chiropractors to not just provide ergonomic tips, but to educate patients on the value of ergonomics and how to implement them across every aspect of the job that’s causing them pain.
Establish the pattern
Teaching good ergonomics starts by identifying the pattern inducing chronic pain. Have patients sit down at a mock desk and ask them to do a few basic tasks. Type a short paragraph, answer the phone, turn around to talk to you at different angles – these will help inform how their daily posture is affected.
Keep this going for several minutes to see how their posture naturally adjusts in their chair. You can also take pictures for visual aids later on.
The goal is to make clear the poor posture or movements contributing to a patient’s chronic pain. Then, address these issues through and education on ergonomics.
Make patients keenly aware of posture
Using notes and visuals from the mock workstation, walk chronic pain patients through their postural and behavioral problems. A few common focal areas bound to pop up include:
- Slouching or sinking, leading to stress on the lumbar spine;
- Forward head posture, leading to cervical stress;
- Shoulder tensing or raised shoulders, leading to cervical and thoracic pain;
- Head tilt, which can cause cervical subluxations or pain;
- Crossed or bent legs, leading to stress in SI joints, hamstrings, quadriceps and more.
As you pinpoint and illustrate these postural problems, explain how they affect the body. Showing patients the holistic effects of their poor posture stimulates them into understanding the scope of their pain. It can also inspire more dedicated action to fix it.
Educate on the topic of ergonomics
Once the pattern is defined and the problems are illuminated, teach ergonomics. Use examples specific to the patient, such as proper head and hands position while typing or having feet flat on the floor with proper chair height. As you recommend these adjustments explain the effect on the body.
Work with patients to make a checklist or a pneumonic device so they remember their own ergonomic adjustments. This way, they’ll be more apt to adjusting their posture throughout the workday.
Finally, have them review basic ergonomic literature about some of the most common postural problems that can stem from constant sitting and computer use.
Build ergonomic education into a CBP regimen
When using Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) adjustment schedule, Ideal Spine recommends building in ongoing ergonomic education as part of your interaction with a chronic pain patient. Not only will they begin to experience relief from a targeted adjustment schedule, they’ll walk away from treatment armed with the knowledge to preserve these positive adjustments and avoid them in the future, thanks to an informed understanding of ergonomic best practices.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.