WorkSiteRight talks Bad Posture Fixes with HuffPost
Got Bad Posture? Try These Expert-Approved Products To Improve It.
By Nicole Pajer in Huffpost
When the pandemic struck, those unaccustomed to working at home found themselves scrambling to put together makeshift workstations. Many spent the past year-plus using laptops on the couch, hunching over a tablet at the kitchen table or looking down at their phones while simultaneously trying to help their kids stay engaged in virtual school.
But now we’re feeling the effects of those bad work setups we thought we’d been getting away with. And even some seasoned work-from-homers aren’t doing things in a posture-friendly manner.
“People working from home may still not have their home office in an ergonomic fashion, and extended time on a laptop causes too much flexion of the spine and too much sitting ― both are detrimental for health maintenance,” said Amir Vokshoor, a spinal neurosurgeon and chief of spine at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
This can also lead to back pain, tech neck and poor posture, he added. But the good news is that these issues can often be reversed. Here are 12 products that can help improve them.
An “Oops, you’re slouching” reminder app
You try to keep your shoulders back, but hours into your workday it’s inevitable that you will forget. The Upright GO S is a posture-training device that attaches to your back via a hypoallergenic adhesive. The device is outfitted with a smart sensor and gives off a gentle vibration to alert you whenever you are slouching. The device connects to an app and allows you to track your daily progress by showing you statistics, such as when you slouched during the day and how many minutes of good posture you logged.
A stylish posture corrector
You’ve likely seen posture correctors – those fabric braces that pull your shoulders back throughout the day. If you’re looking for one with a little more flair, BackEmbrace comes in fun patterns, like pink-and-black pebble, black-and-white tie-dye and star bright. The makers behind BackEmbrace say their product can help prevent tech neck, fix your posture and relieve tension. And it’s seamless, so you can also wear this one under your clothing.
An adjustable standing desk
“A sit/standing desk is the best option to offset the biomechanical stressors inflicted when sitting for extended periods of time,” explained Chad Henriksen, an ergonomics expert and director of WorkSiteRight at Northwestern Health Sciences University.
“Alternating between a sitting and standing position balances the harmful effects of staying in one position throughout an entire workday,” he added.
Try an adjustable standing desk, like this one by FlexiSpot, which lets you push a button to change the desk height throughout your day.
An affordable office chair
Your chair is vital to maintaining good posture. This ergonomic option has more than 19,000 five-star reviews and it’s less than $50. It comes in a variety of colors and provides lumbar support and padded seating support. You can also adjust the height to find the right distance between the floor and your desk, and the back is made of breathable mesh to keep you cool while you type away.
A shirt that keeps you in check
Aligning your spine can be as simple as popping on a shirt. This posture top is constructed with tension panel neurobands that activate specific muscles responsible for keeping your shoulders back and your body upright.
The University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine and the University of Denver’s Center for Biomechanics performed a study that found that wearing the AlignMed Posture Shirt increased computer user performance by 13% and reduced fatigue by up to 29%.
A memory foam lower-back cushion
This is a go-to product for Mike Evangel, a sports and family chiropractor in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas. According to Evangel, a memory foam pillow can help supplement a not-so-great working setup.
“A low-back supporting cushion can be used if a work/office chair is not ergonomically designed,” he explained.
This cushion comes with a carrying pouch and can also help provide some support for your back in the car, on an airplane or anywhere else you’ll find yourself spending a significant amount of time sitting.
If you have to wear a bra, might as well be one that improves your posture. This wireless bra contains criss-cross PowerSlim bands that support your back and keep you in a properly aligned position. It’s a bra and a shoulder brace in one. Bonus points for it going under your clothing to disguise the shoulder straps, unlike a traditional posture corrector.
Tape that reminds you to straighten out
Alexandra Trevisan, a Los Angeles-based chiropractor, places Rock Tape on her clients’ backs to help them remember to maintain good posture.
“While it does not hold the patient’s posture in place, it cues the brain to send signals to the musculature to activate,” she explained, adding that devices that utilize an active cueing mechanism are the strongest candidates to facilitate long-lasting improved posture.
Rock Tape has a tutorial on how to apply this tape to serve as a posture corrector, which you can access here.
A foam roller to release muscle tension
Loosening up tight muscles can be key to ensuring that your shoulders stay back. This is where a foam roller can come into play.
Heather Jeffcoat, owner of Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy in California, said this is her most referred posture-improving product. She recommends the LuxFit Foam Roller. It supports the entire length of your spine when performing a chest opener stretch, the first postural exercise she teaches her patients.
“I recommend everyone get the 36-inch length and 6-inch diameter for their first foam roller,” she explained. “If it’s too firm, the OPTP Pro-Roller Soft Density Foam Roller offers support with more give and is preferred by some of my patients.”
Resistance bands for muscle building
These come in handy for doing posture-perfecting exercises like rows and band pull-aparts.
Jon P., master trainer and owner of Stop Crying Studios, frequently has his clients perform a Supine Bridge with resistance bands to help improve body stabilization and posture. This move activates your erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings and abdominals, he said. To perform this, lie on your back and put a resistance band around your legs, slightly above your knees. Lift your butt up into the air and squeeze.
An ergonomic book holder
“Excessive periods of time on our devices can lead to chronic forward head posture, aka ‘text neck’ and ‘tech neck,’” Vokshoor said. Propping your phone or tablet up can help you avoid craning your neck down to see your screen.
This stand can hold everything from a tablet to a book, and it encourages proper neck alignment when reading. It’s adjustable and has collapsible legs for storage.
A separate mouse and keyboard
Hunching over your laptop all day while using its built-in keyboard and track pad can cause shoulder tension and forward posture, according to the experts. But using a separate keyboard and mouse can help. You can get wireless versions that pair with your computer via Bluetooth or varieties that connect via your laptop’s USB ports. And propping your laptop up on a desk and placing the keyboard and mouse on a separate keyboard drawer that hangs below your desk can even further align you.