Since COVID-19 forced people to trade in their ergonomic office setups and desk chairs for couches and beds last March, Ergo Inspire LLC owner and founder Pamela Kopsak became more focused on providing educational resources to prevent posture-induced chronic pain than ever.
“When you think about how we are intended to be, it took how many millennia for us to evolve from our most primitive form into upright posture?” Kopsak, who started Ergo Inspire in 2015, asked rhetorically. “Tens of thousands of years. So it took all that time for us to achieve this erect, upright position, and now we’re reverting back into almost the shape of a ‘C’ posture because we’re bent over these devices and computers all day long.”
Even when people are sitting supine in offices that have been designed to support their bodies, Kopsak said it can be difficult to get people to practice proper posture. When you take people out of the office and force them to carve out a new work area in their home, things can get tricky, as not everyone has the space or resources for an ideal desk setup.
“Our bodies are absolutely paying the price for the lifestyle that we have now and we’ve got this work from home situation where how many people now have been working from kitchen tables, beds, couches, whatever people have in front of them, and they’re trying to get through their day eight to 10 hours in a position they’re not meant to be in,” she said.
Kopsak’s work starts with an ergonomic assessment in which she meets remotely with potential clients and watches how they work, viewing them from the back, sides and overhead. She then suggests changes – a different seating position or maybe a new, cost-effective chair that fits in their space. Even small modifications to one’s work space, she said, can save them from years of pain down the line.
She said she first learned of what she calls the current “epidemic” of poor posture while working for five years working at an outpatient physical therapy clinic, treating office employees who would frequently come in with shoulder, back and neck pain.
“Oftentimes, it’s really obvious why people are having neck pain,” Kopsak explained. “A lot of people are working from these tiny little Chromebooks and their head is way over said she thinks it is irresponsible that large hardware manufacturers like do not consider the spread of poor posture when designing products, leading their own end users to have to find and pay for physical therapy years later.
That’s why she tries to offer more cost-effective, creative options, ranging from the aforementioned evaluations to hosting live stretching routines over Zoom, bringing employees together in the hopes of returning to them a sense of corporate culture and community they may miss.
Without even needing an assessment, Kopsak said she can help improve anyone’s posture via education, to teach them how to work healthily whether it’s in a cubicle or under the covers.
“A big part of what I am offering is education,” she said. “Really pertinent information about the way that we’re moving as a society, the way we’re moving our bodies and not moving our bodies. Things that are going to inspire people.
“Get up and move every 30 minutes. It’s really going to make a difference mentally and physically to take your eyes off your screen, get the blood flowing, get the oxygen moving through your body.”
Collin Cuningham is a freelance writer from Cleveland.