Chiropractors Warn of Pandemic of Work-From-Home Injuries; Call for Prevention
Ergonomic wellness brand Ergoal announces an expanded lineup as demand for ergonomic home office furniture rises during a new pandemic of work-from-home injuries
Amid a global pandemic that has shuttered over half of the American workforce away from their offices, healthcare professionals are reporting an alarming spike in work-from-home related injuries over the last few months, many of which have resulted from stress, anxiety, and improper remote work setups.
92% of chiropractors surveyed by the American Chiropractic Association confirm that they are seeing more patients with neck pain, back pain, and other musculoskeletal issues since the mandate to stay- and work-from-home began. Meanwhile, dentists across the country are treating increasing cases of tooth fractures, chipped teeth, and jaw pain – likely from stress-related teeth grinding at night, a surprising offshoot of poor posture in the daytime.
Ergoal, a leading ergonomic wellness brand is on a mission to fight this pandemic of work-from-home injuries. Guillermo P. Weber, who heads Ergoal, says not all is lost for American workers. By exhibiting mindfulness when it comes to better remote work setups, the risk for injuries are significantly lowered. “But one of the challenges is that many employees underestimate their risk exposure while working in unhealthy settings, be it at the kitchen table or sitting on their bed”, said Weber.
According to a survey commissioned by insurance company Chubb, 41% of American professionals have reported new or increased back, shoulder, and/or neck pain since working from home this year. Another survey – this time by Hinge Health, a digital health company, said 45% of respondents reported experiencing joint and back pain, with over 70% saying the pain was new or had worsened. Many of the aches and pains reported by the American workforce are repetitive stress injuries, most of which can be traced back to working on laptops.
Laptops were designed to be used for a few hours at a time, for mobile warriors or frequent flyers to get work done. But now that workers are on their laptops the whole day, they are adjusting by looking down to see their screens, or if the laptop is elevated, raising their hands to type. “Chronic looking down puts us in a forward head position that loads pressure on the discs and joints of the spine,” says Dr. Karen Erickson, a renowned chiropractor who holds practice in Manhattan. “It also causes muscle imbalance in the neck.”
Healthcare professionals cite the following as the most common injuries observed specifically during the pandemic:
· Tech neck
· Teeth fractures
· Carpal tunnel
· Muscle sprain
· Degenerative disk disease
Ergoal offers a lineup of therapeutic office chairs that focus on prevention and ergonomic best practice. “Many principles of ergonomics boil down to height and movement,” said Weber, whose business of making ergonomic tools and furniture more accessible to remote workers was borne right when work-from-home mandates began. “We started with one chair model which we made available 100% online, and since then we’ve been expanding our lineup. Most of our early customers had chronic back pain and needed an immediate solution for relief, but since then we’ve also seen a number of customers who look for ergonomic solutions as a preventive measure.”
The ideal sitting position for workers to stay pain-free will have one’s ears over the shoulders which in turn should be over the hips. “Hips slightly higher than the knees, arms relaxed at your side, neck relaxed and straight, forearms parallel to the ground, feet resting on the floor,” confirms Dr. Erickson. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for seating, Ergoal has curated its lineup of ergonomic office chairs – all of which have multiple adjustable features – to suit different sizes, body types, and needs. The latest addition to its product line, the Ergoal Comfort Plus, provides superior comfort for long-term sitting thanks to its memory foam cushion, while providing the advanced lumbar support feature that Ergoal is known for.
Pre- and even mid-COVID19, many organizations made significant strides to ensure they have the proper support infrastructure in place for remote work. Videoconferencing, collaboration tools, digital coworkers and secure remote access are just some of the solutions that saw increased adoption as employees were asked to work from home. But remote work is here to stay, even in a post-vaccine world. In fact, studies suggest that 25 to 30% of the American workforce will continue working from home in 2021 and beyond. This requires a rethink of the work setup, and employees and employers must start thinking of the home workspace as part of the enterprise environment.
“More employers must realize that they have a role to play in preventing workplace injuries in the home during this pandemic,” Weber says. Whether it’s the provision of ergonomic furniture to make working from home more comfortable, or kicking off wellness activities that promote employees’ physical and mental health from home, rethinking employee engagement in the new normal means going beyond the physical office building and into remote work stations.
From this week up until Black Friday, Ergoal is offering a $100 discount for all purchases off their website ergoal.com. Individual or corporate customers need only to input the promo code 100OFF upon check-out to avail of the discount. Ergoal offers a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty on all chairs. “The American workforce was given very little options when mandated to work-from-home for legitimate safety reasons at the onset of the pandemic,” shares Weber. “Ergoal hopes to make ergonomics more accessible to employers and work-from-home employees to show that awareness, mindfulness, and the right tools and furniture will go a long way in keeping employees healthy and productive in an unprecedented time.”
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