SLEEPING-the key to proper sleeping ergonomics boils down to 2 things: 1) Pillow height and 2) mattress firmness. Get one correct and the other incorrect and you’ll never sleep that great. get them both correct and you will not only sleep better, but also will wake up feeling less achy and less fatigued.
PILLOW HEIGHT-When sleeping on your back you typically need a very thin pillow that is a little thicker under your neck.
When sleeping on your side, you typically need a much thicker pillow because of the width of your shoulders.
Many people have their pillows too low for side sleeping. This can lead to achy pain in the shoulders and neck which can last throughout the day.
If your pillow is too high, it will typically create a headache. Use folded towels inside your pillow case to raise your pillow to the where you feel no strain or pressure on your neck or shoulders.
If you think your pillow might be too high, find a thinner pillow to use.
Give these ideas a try and notice how much better you feel.
MATTRESSES- We are fans of mattresses that can be adjusted to different firmness levels. It just makes sense to have that option when you are looking at purchasing something that you will spend a third of your life on…yes we spend a third of our lives sleeping.
Overall, a firm mattress provides better support than a soft mattress. However, because some people have sensitivity in their joints and muscles, a firm mattress may cause to much discomfort. This is one of the reasons we like an adjustable mattress.
Pillow Tops are a popular option on many mattresses. Our experience is that pillow tops cause more problems over time. they tend to deform into a “hammock” type indentation. This will cause a person to toss and turn throughout the night and wake up feeling very achy and fatigued. We do not recommend pillow tops.
Memory Foam is another popular mattress material. We do not recommend beds that are made completely of memory foam. In our experience, they are not supportive in the right way. Many patients have complained about them being too hot and that they had difficulty changing positions because they sink into the material so much. We feel that a thin layer on top of a firm supportive mattress may be okay.
Hopefully this information helps you in deciding upon a good supportive mattress.
SITTING-proper sitting ergonomics is dependent on 2 main things: 1) Seat height and 2) and angle of seat bottom.
Seat Height- The best seat height for the average person is when your hip is slightly higher than your knee. An office chair can usually be adjusted vertically to achieve the desired height. A chair at home is more difficult to deal with and may require you to add a firm cushion to increase the height, or allow your knees to drop down lower than your hip. A couch or soft chair is very difficult to deal with…it may cause stress and strain on your body structure no matter what you do. Your hips sink down lower than your knees which causes your pelvis to rotate backwards, leading to a slumped lower back and mid back along with anterior head shifting.
STANDING- We are proponents of a new and cutting edge concept in footware. Well, it is not really “new” because for hundreds of years, shoes were actually made more ergonomically correct that they have been for the past 50 years or so. The conventional thinking in foot wear is that you need to have an arch support and that heels are bad for you. We are here to tell you that both of those ideas are absolutely false and may actually be causing more problems for people down the road.
We have found that, by far, the best combination for proper support of the human structure when wearing shoes is: 1) No arch supports (flat on the inside), 2) slightly elevated heel, 3) wide forefoot area (no squeeze on the front of the foot), and 4) no bending up of the toe area (the banana effect).
When you can find a pair of shoes that provides all these things, you achieve “shoe nirvana”! Not only will your feet feel much better, but your body will feel much stronger and more balanced when you are standing, walking, and running. Your posture will naturally become much more upright.
**If you have extreme foot pain that can only be relieved by wearing some type of arch support, then that is a major sign that the structure of your body is overloaded with harmful joint restrictions. To get to the cause, you need to free up the restrictions with structural chiropractic Correction. If you keep wearing arch supports (even if they are prescribed by a doctor) and do not address the underlying structural restrictions, you are most likely going to continue developing more and more problems down the road that will require more invasive treatments aimed at treating the symptoms like drugs and surgery.
Sometimes a shoe can be easily altered to achieve a better fit. You can take out or cut out the arch support and you can add a heel wedge to elevate the heel slightly.