By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
WHETHER your workplace is in office or now at home during the pandemic, Dr Miquela Rolle and her team at Paramount Rehabilitation and Fitness are encouraging Bahamians to consider the way in which their space is set up.
Through social media and WhatsApp communications, they have been offering the community free ergonomic tips for the workplace.
Tip number one is: “Move it before you lose it”, and it encourages people to get up and move every 20 to 30 minutes.
Dr Rolle advised that no matter how good a person’s posture, prolonged time in a sitting position can increase their risk of sustaining an ache or injury.
Her tip number two is: “Check up, neck up”, which she explained is important for head and neck posture.
“For this we recommend that you secure the screen or monitor to about eye level. This prevents a rounded shoulder posture and every so often you want to remember to check your posture,” said Dr Rolle, who is a doctor of physical therapy.
For her third tip – “Use what you’ve got” – Dr Rolle said there are many things around the house that people can use to assist with setting up a workspace.
For example, she said you can use a rolled up towel under the wrists to reduce the pressure from the edge of a desk or table. You can also use a small cushion in the back to support the lumbar spine.
“Providing these tips to the community raises the awareness of posture and the importance of properly setting up your workstation. I do believe that making small changes can help reduce back and joint pain, and in many cases prevent further injury,” she said.
“Due to the emergency stay-at-home orders, we found more people contacting us because they were having neck, shoulder or back pain. This is when we decided to hold free workstation setup webinars via Zoom to help prevent this.”
Offering more tips for those working from home, Dr Rolle said try setting a timer that you can place in another room that forces you to move to turn it off. Then reset it. She also suggests you evaluate your workspace and ask these three questions: “Does it support?”, “Is it safe?”, and “Am I comfortable?”
“Make boundaries and get into a routine that you can follow that can help you separate work life from home life. Don’t think of it like a balancing act. You will never be able to balance life and work. Life is way more important. Learn how to set boundaries that allow you to focus on one or the other. Also, use a reward system. For example, I love coffee and I now am programming myself to only have coffee only if I have done my 20-minute exercise for the day. So use things that you like to reward yourself with sticking to your active goals,” said Dr Rolle.
She said people can also link a physical activity to something they enjoy.
“For example, what if you only watched Netflix while you were on the treadmill or bike? If you like Netflix, you may find yourself on an exercise bike more. Also, be accountable and set an active goal and tell someone other than yourself,” said Dr Rolle.
She believes by definition, movement is life.
“I think improved mobility equals improved quality of life. Also, science has shown that those people that are more active live longer and have less health issues. More Bahamians should be aware of the ‘3 Ps’ of physical health:
• Posture: either during sleeping, working or activity. “Proper posture is important and matters. We don’t think about it, but proper posture helps prevent injury and helps reduce current injuries.”
• Position: Checking on the position and set-up of your workspace or that of other areas in your life will also help reduce pain and injury.
“For example, putting things that are used frequently close to your desk to avoid overreaching.”
• Prevention: We all know the phrase “prevention is better than cure”.
“This is true and making wise goals and habits to keep you healthy and productive is crucial, “said Dr Rolle.
Dr Rolle said she hates to see or hear of people in pain, especially, joint and back pain, because she herself has suffered from back pain in the past. She knows first-hand how restricted life can be with back pain. So helping others by giving them useful advice and suggestions gives her a great sense of fulfilment.
The Paramount Rehabilitation and Fitness has been in operation since January 2015, aiming to help people live life free of painkillers, if possible. Services include physical, massage and aquatic therapy, and fitness programmes. Over the past year, the centre has also expanded its focus to helping more people through workplace ergonomics. The team includes Dr Rolle, massage therapist Andira Curtis and customer service specialist McCara Bethel. For more information, visit @paramountrehabfitness on Instagram and ‘paramountrehabcentre’ on Facebook.