How to Improve Your Posture While Working from Home, According to a Chiropractor
If you’re looking to get rid of your WFH slouch, you’ve come to the right place.
There are plenty of perks that come along with working from home: You have more flexibility, you can nap during your lunch break, and the only person stopping by your desk to chat is your dog.
If there’s a downside, it would be that it’s incredibly easy to not move. Like at all. Aside from bathroom breaks and jaunts to the fridge, you could conceivably limit your daily steps to the process of rolling from your bed directly into your desk chair. Among other things, this type of lifestyle can quickly and easily lead to back pain, general discomfort, and poor posture.
To help you out with this issue, we chatted with Dr. Tyler Bigenho, DC, a Newport Beach-based chiropractor, to get some tips. Bigenho has been practicing for two years, and is a big believer that positive spine health and good posture is directly tied to bodily awareness.
“The key is acceptance,” he says. “Not to say that you’re stuck with back pain or bad posture, but it’s important to accept the fact that sitting in a chair for eight hours might be your current reality. You have to be mindful, and take intentional steps that will allow you to feel better within that.”
Bigenho believes that with this type of awareness, you can cure a lot of the postural issues you’re facing. His treatment approach is based around exercise and some impressive adjustments (check out his Instagram for some super-satisfying back crack videos), and he’s hesitant to point to anything as a cure-all for back problems.
“I take an honest, progressive, high-quality approach,” he explains. “I tell my patients that if there was a one-size-fits-all product that worked for everyone, everyone would already have it…I could tell people they need to see me three times a week forever, or try to sell them a bunch of stuff, but it all comes down to trust and healing.”
That said, Bigenho believes that if any product or practice helps you feel more comfortable, you can call it a win. We talked about some of the available products that his patients have found success with, and based on our conversation, I rounded up some affordable, easy-to-implement options for you to try out. If you’re looking to get rid of your WFH slouch, you’ve come to the right place.
With any sort of posture brace, Bigenho encourages you to treat the product the way a professional athlete might. “Think of a professional tennis player,” he says. “When they’re playing, they might wear a compression sleeve or an ankle brace. But when they’re done playing, they take it off.”
His point is that corrective braces should only be implemented during the activity that’s causing this problem; otherwise, it’s best to let your body’s natural movement take over. Even if your catalyst is leaning over your laptop rather than crushing 100-mph serves past an opponent, it’s important to address the cause directly.
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Smart Posture Correctors
It’s also possible to be completely unaware that you’re slouching or hunched over until your back starts to flare up or your partner points it out. If this is the case, there might be a higher-tech wearable solution for you.
They all work in slightly different ways, but the general theme of these smart, posture-correcting devices is that they use motion sensors to detect when your posture needs fixing, and let you know with a vibration or a sound. If the sort of general body mindfulness that Bigenho talks about doesn’t come naturally to you, one of these could help you train yourself to stay straight up more often.
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Ergonomic Desk Chairs and Pillows
While you might be confined to your at-home desk a little more than you’d like, it doesn’t mean that you can’t keep the space as comfy and posture-pleasing as possible. However, before buying a chair or an insert, the first step is to determine which part of your back needs the support.
For example, you don’t need to focus on lumbar support if the correction is needed in your upper back or neck. With this in mind, it’s important to get in touch with your body and figure out where your poor posture starts. Are you craning over your keyboard, or just letting your core disengage while you’re typing emails? Once you know where the problem lies, you should be able to find a chair or insert that can help you fix it.
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Bigenho tends to focus on the connectedness of things (rather than a single cause of posture issues or back pain), from diet and exercise to sleeping habits—all pillars of generally good health. He says that while problems rarely have a sole instigator, small efforts in these areas can lead to a big improvement.
“If you think about what movements you’re making (when your posture is lacking), just exaggerate your movement in the opposite direction with some flexion and extension. Even if you just do it for a few minutes a day, you’ll notice a huge difference.”
Adding resistance bands to these types of micro-exercises can help you strengthen your back and neck muscles, and ultimately make it easier to maintain the posture that you want.