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How to Set Up the Best Work-From-Home Workstation

For better or worse, it looks like the world will be working from home for the foreseeable future. While it might seem like now is the perfect time to lounge out and work from bed all day, for the sake of productivity, you would do better to set up a home workstation. In the beginning, this might have looked like a simple chair at the kitchen table, but since we’re going to be here a while, we might as well get comfortable. And no, don’t go crawling back into bed or to the couch.

What we recommend instead is that you set up an ergonomic home workstation. Rather than reclining on the couch all day and putting unwanted strain on your neck, shoulders, and back, an ergonomic workstation will provide you with a similar work environment to what you would find in the office and keep your back from giving out while you wait for the world to return to some sort of normal. With comfort in mind, we’ve gone ahead and made a primer for how you can achieve the ultimate work-from-home workstation.

The Right Desk and Chair

Unless you already have a quality work desk, the odds are that you’ll be working from the kitchen table. This means you won’t be able to make many adjustments to the table itself. Instead, you’re going to have to think outside of the box.

Most dinner tables are designed so that your food is closer to your mouth. While this makes eating easier, it’s not ideal for a workstation, especially if you are shorter. If this is a problem for you, start by making some changes to your chair. Ideally, you want a chair that can swivel up or down. This will let you find the perfect height. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, and your knees should bend at a 90-degree angle with your feet flat on the ground.

If you don’t have an office chair, you can get the same results by sitting on a pillow or cushion. Memory foam is excellent for this, as it will eventually take on your natural curves and provide the most support. If it is not possible to get your legs into this position because the table is too low, you can also try propping up the table higher using some wooden blocks or stacks of paper.

Where to Place Your Computer

Now that you’re seated comfortably at the table, it’s time to start assembling your workstation. Start by thinking about where your computer will go. If you’re working with a laptop, you won’t be able to change the screen’s height without also moving the keyboard. This is a problem because you want your computer positioned in your natural line of sight. If the screen is too low, you’ll spend all day hunched over, staring down at your laptop. By nighttime, you’ll go to bed with a stiff neck.

An easy workaround for this is to find a few books or a stack of printer paper on which you can rest your computer. Aim to get your screen high enough that your eyes natural look slightly lower than the center and far enough away that the screen is about an arm’s length from your eyes. Instead of using the laptop’s built-in keyboard and touchpad, use a plugin keyboard and mouse so that you are not typing like a Tyrannosaurus Rex (wrists bent up).

How Should You Hold Your Arms?

With Tyrannosaurus arms in mind, let’s talk about how you should position your elbows and hands. Having armrests on your chair is a great way to find added elbow support and prevent slouching, but not every chair has armrests. If yours doesn’t, keep adjusting your chair until your arms can rest on the table at a 90-degree angle.

As for your wrists and hands, they should comfortably and naturally reach the keyboard. You should not have to strain your arms to reach the keyboard. By that same note, you shouldn’t feel cramped up against the table or computer. Find a spot that feels most natural and stick to it. Try to keep your hands positioned slightly higher than the keyboard and pull your elbows in as you type.

Focus on your Lower Back

After setting up your table, chair, computer, keyboard, and mouse, it’s finally time to sit down and do some work. Before you start typing away, though, examine how you are sitting. Are you sitting firmly on your butt? As silly as it sounds, we actually have sitting bones. These are the roundish boney protrusions that we sit on in each buttock. They are anatomically designed to absorb weight and support our spines as we sit.

If you are not sitting straight and firm, your lower back will absorb most of the stress instead of your sitting bones. To keep your posture straight, slide all the way into the back of your chair, plant your feet into the ground, face forward, and act as if there is a string pulling the crown of your head up towards the ceiling.  Your back doesn’t have to be completely smashed against the chair—our spines do curve naturally—but do your best to roll your shoulders back and against the chair. If you find it hard to maintain this posture, an added cushion or towel can help support your lower back.

Get to Work but Remember to Move Around

Now that you’ve got your homemade ergonomic home workstation set up, it’s time to settle in, pull up an assignment, and get started. Work hard, but remember to check your posture regularly. Sit straight and tall with confidence as you work through the day. Keep your shoulders rolled back and pull your chest out, but be relaxed. The point is to be comfortable while still holding yourself up.

After a few hours, you’re surely going to be ready to get up and move around. This is an excellent idea, as it gives you some time to stretch and get your blood pumping. Don’t just go to the bathroom and get some water. Take a few minutes to walk around the house. Stretch from side to side and also upwards. Touch your toes if you can and try rotating your arms in little circles. The more you move, the less stiff you’ll feel at the end of the day. If you have time in your schedule, maybe even take a quick walk around the block to get some sunshine.

When you sit back down to do more work, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to finish the day. Some light exercise is a great way to restart the brain and come up with new ideas, especially after a long morning spent sitting at the computer.

Consider a Standing Desk

Perhaps you’re more of an active person and don’t like to sit for too long. If you cannot commit time to regular walks around the block, you might benefit from a standing desk. The same limitations apply to a standing desk that apply to a sitting desk so you’ll still have to think outside the box.

Because a table will likely be to low to stand at and work, we recommend heading to the kitchen. If you’re dedicated to creating a standing workstation, the countertop should work well. Maybe add a few extra books for some added height, and remember to keep your elbows and arms tucked in as you type. Stand at a healthy distance to maintain a 90-degree bend in your arms.

The key to making a standing workstation comfortable is a good pair of house shoes. Keeping your feet comfortable means that you’ll feel less inclined to lean over or slouch into your shoulders. The same standards that apply to a sitting station apply to a standing station, so if you feel that you’re starting to lose balance and alignment, take a quick walk around the house, come back, and finish whatever it is your working on.

If you’re not fully committed to a standing station but still like the idea of standing to work, you could also set up two stations at home. As long as your housemates, wife, or husband are okay with you occupying more than one area, there’s no reason why you can’t adapt the entire house into an office.

Why Having a Comfortable Home Workstation Matters

Setting up an ergonomic home workstation is about more than just getting some work done. While a dedicated work area can help you stay productive, setting it up to be comfortable on your back, shoulders, and neck means that you won’t be left sprawled out on the couch in pain after a couple of weeks. It doesn’t seem that we will be heading back into the office anytime soon, so who knows when you’ll see your ergonomic office chair and keyboard again. Instead of suffering until then, why not make use of the space you have and turn your kitchen or dining room into a quality at-home workstation?

How to Assess If You Have Perfect Posture or Not

Office jobs have their ups and downs. Sure, they are routine and comfortable, but even on the best of days, going home with a sore back from sitting in an uncomfortable office chair is never a perk. Over time, it starts to affect your posture in general, too. Next thing you know, you’re hunched over as you walk down the street, and you can’t sleep well because your back feels like it’s about to give out. If only there were a way to stop this slow progression into agony.

Wait, there is! By regularly assessing your posture, you can prevent back pain and stop the slow descent into a hunchback dead in its tracks. Checking your posture is easy and can be done from just about anywhere. If you’re not sure how to check your posture, we will teach you. All you need is a wall, your back, your arms, and a spare minute. If you are ready, let’s talk about your posture.

Why Posture Matters

Before we dive into how you can check your posture, it’s important that you understand just how important it is. Posture, or how you hold yourself, is a good indication of your health. As humans age, we tend to lose bone density and muscle mass. As our core and back muscles start to decay, it becomes harder to hold ourselves up straight. This puts added strain on our spine and spinal ligaments, causing inflammation, pain, and faster decay. By maintaining good posture, we can slow this aging process and live into old age without back pain.

Poor posture affects more than just our backs, though. It can also affect our digestive and cardiovascular systems. When we slouch, we compress our diaphragms, making it harder to breathe deeply. Over time, we start to lose lung capacity because our diaphragms no longer expand as they once did. The same goes for digestion. Slouching can cause heartburn after a meal, and it makes it more difficult for our stomachs to digest food.

How to Tell if You Should Start Assessing Your Posture

You will probably know that your posture needs work long before such extreme effects as those mentioned above set in. The most obvious sign of poor posture is a sore back and stiff joints. We tend to think that poor posture only affects the back, but it also affects our hips, shoulders, neck, and knees. What you might be mistaking for tension or stress could actually just be the result of poor posture.

Some other signs of poor posture are drowsiness and low confidence. When we fail to sit up straight, our bodies begin to go into rest mood. This can be a killer when you are trying to get some work done because it drains you of all motivation. Poor posture can also strike at our confidence. Generally, when we think of confident people, we imagine someone standing tall and proud. It’s hard to live up to that image when your shoulders are rolled forward, and your back is hunched.

If any of this sounds like you, it’s time to start assessing if you have perfect posture. At first, we recommend doing these tests every hour or so when you are at work. Not all need to be done so regularly, but you can do others at any time.

The Wall Test

This first test is a good way of testing just how bad your posture is. Start by finding a flat and open spot on the wall. Turn away from the wall and lean against it so that your back is pressed up to the wall. Try standing as tall and straight as possible and then assess which parts of your back are touching the wall.

If your shoulders, shoulder blades, head, hips, and the back of your feet all touch the wall, you have some pretty good posture. If not, this is a sign that you need to work on it. Try lifting your arms out and then bending your elbows straight up. Try to touch the backs of your wrists against the wall. If you can touch the wall, you are good, but if not, definitely start focusing on your posture.

The Palm Test

This next test is simple and can be done at any time. It works best if you are standing, as it requires your arms to hang downward. Without moving your arms, take note of your palms. Don’t look at them but notice which way they are facing. Are they turned towards the fronts of your thighs, or are they facing the sides of your legs?

Palms that face the sides of your legs indicate that your arms are hanging down by your sides. This means your shoulders are rolled back, your chest is out, and your shoulder posture is perfect. Palms that face the front of the thigh indicate that your arms are hanging in front of you. If this is the case, your shoulders have slumped forward, and you are slouching. Take a moment to raise yourself up, roll your shoulders back, and adjust your posture.

The Laying Test

This test is quite similar to the wall test but focuses more on your neck than your shoulders. Lay on a flat, hard surface, and try to press your head firmly backward. If your posture is perfect, you should be able to lay your head backward without looking up or down. If you have to look up or down, this means that your neck is out of alignment, and you should begin practicing better neck posture.

Poor neck posture is quite common among office workers who stare down at their computers all day. Always looking down to check your phone can also lead to neck strain. Be aware of these problems, and do your best to look up.

The Chair Test

This is the test that most office workers could use every hour, on the hour. It’s straightforward and doesn’t require anything more than the chair they are already sitting in. Start by assessing your nose and chin. Roughly, at what angle are they? If you are looking down rather than straight ahead, your neck posture needs adjusting. Ideally, it would help if you were looking along your natural line of sight. If not, you may need to reposition your computer screen.

Then move onto your shoulders and lower back. Just like with the wall test, assess what position your shoulders are in. Are they against the back of your chair or have they rolled forward? Try your best to sit with your shoulders against the chair and then slide your hand to your lower back. Is there a gap between your lumbar area and the chair? Trick question—there should be! The lower region of our spines naturally curves inward, so it’s ok if there is a slight gap. However, if your lower back is pressed right up against the chair, you are probably slouching and need to sit up straighter.

Last, check your feet. Don’t move them or start taking your shoes off. Just look down and assess what position they are in. Your feet should be flat on the floor, facing forward, and positioned so that your knees are at about a 90-degree angle. Sitting like this takes the pressure off your lumbar region and loosens up the hips.

How to Improve Your Posture

After taking these three quick tests, you might be left wondering how you can improve your posture if it’s not perfect. Start with some gentle exercise. Strengthening your back and core muscles is an excellent way to build internal support and improve your posture. Also, consider your mattress and pillow. If you constantly toss and turn at night, and wake up sore in the morning, your mattress is probably shifting your spine out of alignment. A firmer mattress can help your back immensely.

Also, work on your flexibility. It can feel awkward at first when you are trying to retrain your body, but by practicing a few targeted flexibility exercises, you can loosen up and realign your spine quickly. With looser joints, you’ll be able to practice good posture every day. In the beginning, good posture is as much a mental practice as it is physical. Staying mindful of how you sit and stand is the first step, and over time, your body will begin assuming a naturally positive posture.

Good Posture is Not a Losing Battle

Achieving perfect posture takes time, but it’s not difficult and certainly not impossible. For the average person, making a few small changes is enough to improve their posture. The first step is to start assessing if you have perfect posture throughout the day. When we become more aware of it, we then start actively correcting and readjusting our spines, shoulders, and necks. From there, it’s smooth sailing to painless days at the office and a more confident, happier outlook. Maintaining good posture is the key to a long life free from pain.

Managing Low Back Pain

Back pain is limiting and can be frustrating when it comes to routinely functioning on a daily basis. Although common, feeling pain in your lumbar spine is not normal and could be a sign that there is a fixated joint. Back pain can originate from that joint that is stuck or locked up, putting pressure on the nerves in your nervous system. This pressure causes improper function, decreased range of motion, and can often be painful. The nervous system controls everything in your body. Ninety percent of these nerves control all of your organs’ functions and your muscles. The last 10% of your nervous system is sensory, and that portion of the nerves is what notifies you of pain. If you only focused on pain you would be living your life only using 10% of your nervous system.
The back, or lumbar spine, is the last 5 of the 24 bones in the spine called vertebrae. The cervical spine is where the spinal column and spinal cord begins. The long bundle of nerves within the spinal column sends neural signals that communicate to the brain and the rest of the body. When that transmission is interrupted by a subluxation, also called a pinched nerve, the body stops performing at its absolute best. Think of the nervous system as a garden hose. The water flows through the hose with no restriction until it is stood on or there is a blockage within the hose. Once the opposing force is removed, the water begins to flow again. Pressure on any joint or nerve in the spine causes pain and a multitude of other problems, but there is a solution. Releasing the nerves to operate at their full capacity allows your body to begin to function at its highest level of natural health, which relieves the neck pain. The design of the lumbar spine is very stable and strong as it protects the spinal cord. With this strength comes flexibility and mobility as it enables the spine to bend from side to side, rotate, and use flexion and extension.
If this back pain affects you on a day to day basis, there are a few things you can do at home to help ease the symptoms that can be restricting to your daily life. If you are wanting to get rid of back stiffness and soreness, try doing some back stretches and exercises. A lot of yoga poses can relieve back pain. The cat cow pose is a great example of this as it is a gentle flow pose that activates the core and helps encourage flexibility in the spine. Seated stretches, such as the piriformis stretch, can even be done seated at your desk as it is important to take your back through its full range of motion every day. While working with a computer at your desk, it is critical that proper posture is used. The monitor should be even with your eyeline and your shoulders should be pulled back, not rounded from sitting improperly. If improper posture is used, back pain can be aggravated. Another at home remedy for the back stiffness or soreness can be helped by icing your low back, relieving the inflammation and introducing better range of motion through that area of the spine.
A valid question that may be asked is what does the cost for Chiropractic care look like? The University of Ottawa reviewed the international evidence on not only the management of low back pain but the cost as well in the manga report. The result of the study from Pran Manga, Ph.D. was that it is more cost efficient for patients to switch from physicians to chiropractors for the management of low back. Another outcome of the study was the safety of chiropractic is far greater than the methods that medical practices use to manage low back pain. “Many Medical therapies are of questionable validity, safety, cost effectiveness and patient satisfaction.” Dr. Manga concluded that “chiropractic should be fully insured (and) fully integrated into the Ontario health system”.
Another source says, “The British Medical Research Council documented a ten-year study which compared chiropractic and hospital out-patient management of seventy-four patients with acute and chronic mechanical low back pain. The results showed that chiropractic care was significantly more effective than medical treatment for patients with chronic and severe pain. Furthermore, these results were long-term and remained consistent throughout the two year follow up period. Chiropractic was also shown to save the British more than ten million pounds a year by having hospital out-patients with low back pain under chiropractic care.” -Terry A. Rondberg
What can chiropractic do for your back pain? The purpose of chiropractic care is to correct nerve interference and in doing so, gives the body the chance to heal in the most natural way possible without the use of drugs. “Chiropractic first, drugs second, and surgery last”- Terry A. Rondberg D.C. With the chiropractic adjustment, Chiropractors release the nervous system from being blocked or pinched and reinstates proper communication between the brain and the rest of the body. As we treat the cause of the back pain, we in turn take care of many other symptoms that the nerves in the lumbar spine control. Digestive issues, leg pain, and hip pain are a few symptoms that may be caused by a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine.
In our office we have corrective wellness care plans and maintenance plans to fit your spine if you are a candidate for chiropractic care. Within these plans we will introduce a life changing adjustment that will allow your nervous system to be able to function at its fullest. “It’s very rare to find someone with the spine that’s perfectly aligned. In most people, the spine curves slightly to the right or the left and sometimes, on or more of the vertebrae are twisted or rotated.” As Chiropractors, we are allowing the spine to heal itself, and in doing so, the rest of the body’s normal functions begin to shine through.

Chiropractic: A Solution for Neck Pain

Neck pain is limiting and can be frustrating when it comes to routinely functioning on a daily basis. Although common, feeling pain in your cervical spine is not normal and could be a sign that there is a fixated joint. Neck pain can originate from that joint that is stuck or locked up, putting pressure on the nerves in your nervous system. This pressure causes improper function, decreased range of motion, and can often be painful. The nervous system controls everything in your body. Ninety percent of these nerves control all of your organs’ functions and your muscles. The last 10% of your nervous system is sensory, and that portion of the nerves is what notifies you of pain. If you only focused on pain you would be living your life only using 10% of your nervous system.
The neck, or cervical spine, is the first seven of the 24 bones in the spine called vertebrae. The cervical spine is where the spinal column and spinal cord begins. The long bundle of nerves within the spinal column sends neural signals that communicate to the brain and the rest of the body. When that transmission is interrupted by a subluxation, also called a pinched nerve, the body stops performing at its absolute best. Think of the nervous system as a garden hose. The water flows through the hose with no restriction until it is stood on or there is a blockage within the hose. Once the opposing force is removed, the water begins to flow again. Pressure on any joint or nerve in the spine causes pain and a multitude of other problems, but there is a solution. Releasing the nerves to operate at their full capacity allows your body to begin to function at its highest level of natural health, which relieves the neck pain.
How common is neck pain? According to a recent study done by the University of Southern Denmark, neck pain was proven to be very frequent among adults, affecting 14-71% of adults at some point in their lives. Adolescents and children who have neck pain are at a higher risk of this issue continuing into adulthood. Given that the neck pain can develop in children, experiencing neck pain as an adult may have begun at a younger age, which is why it is important to take care of your spine even as a child or adolescent.
If this neck pain affects you on a day to day basis, there are a few things you can do at home to help ease the symptoms that can be restricting to your daily life. If you are wanting to get rid of neck stiffness and soreness, try doing some neck stretches. These can even be done seated at your desk as it is important to take your neck through its full range of motion every day. While working with a computer at your desk, it is critical that proper posture is used. The monitor should be even with your eye line and your shoulders should be pulled back, not rounded from sitting improperly. Another at home remedy for the neck stiffness or soreness can be helped by icing your neck, relieving the inflammation and introducing better range of motion through that area of the spine.
What can chiropractic do for your neck pain? The purpose of chiropractic care is to correct nerve interference and in doing so, gives the body the chance to heal in the most natural way possible without the use of drugs. “Chiropractic first, drugs second, and surgery last”- Terry A. Rondberg D.C. With the chiropractic adjustment, Chiropractors release the nervous system from being blocked or pinched and reinstates proper communication between the brain and the rest of the body. As we treat the cause of the neck pain, we in turn take care of many other symptoms that the nerves in the cervical spine control. Headaches, dizziness, vertigo and migraines are a few symptoms that may be caused by a pinched nerve in the cervical spine.
“If you have nerve interference, your body can’t perform efficiently because it isn’t getting the right messages from the brain…If the nerve flow is disturbed because of nerve interference, chemical imbalance occurs and the body will function less efficiently-its ability to fight off infection diminished. If you experience one or more of the following symptoms: pain, dizziness, stiffness, weakness, profuse sweating, coughing, diarrhea, fever or stomach upset and vomiting, then it’s time to receive an adjustment. Often these conditions are the result of one’s body attempting to restore health. Correcting nerve interference will help your body to return to normal function.”
In our office we have corrective wellness care plans to fit your needs if you are a candidate for chiropractic care. Within these plans we will introduce a life changing adjustment that will allow your nervous system to be able to function at its fullest.
Your neck has a natural c- curve shape to it as it is seen from the side, or laterally. What happens to the spine as one goes through life is the spine can degenerate and lose that c-curve as it straightens and the disks flatten. This creates a misalignment in the cervical spine and effects not only your neck, but your entire spine. In our office we have over 30 orthotics in our office including the denneroll. The denneroll is a foam block or pillow that will help reinstate that natural curve into the neck and relieve neck pain and stiffness. We also have in office neck traction tools that help bring better range of motion to your neck and reduces the neck soreness as well. Along with the adjustments and orthotics, we will show you specific exercises designed to help your neck pain and bring back the full range of motion. With all of these included with the neck adjustments, we are giving your nervous system the boost it needs to heal on its own. “Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. They come to us not knowing the truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides in the patient a chance to work.” Albert Schweitzer, M.D.

Chiropractic and Kids

Unlocking the nervous system opens up new opportunities for you and your child to enjoy your bodies’ function, perception and adaptation. How old do you have to be to see a chiropractor? Many parents who are being seen at our office ask us this question and we have a very simple answer, there is no age requirement! Full body wellness through chiropractic adjustments should and is available to any person, even newborns. Taking your child to the chiropractor is the natural way to help your child grow in the healthiest way possible. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, parents who look for alternative forms of wellness for their children choose Chiropractic care the most often. The immune boosting quality that the adjustment offers can be an alternative form of healing from things like: the common cold. Chiropractic care boosts the immune system and helps with anxiety, stress, back and neck pain, and other musculoskeletal problems.

Parents choose alternative therapies for their children because of word of mouth, fear of drug side effects, chronic medical problems, and, to a certain extent, dissatisfaction with conventional medicine.
—University of Montreal

“Chiropractic care for children is one of the safest and least invasive forms of healthcare available.”
—Chirofutures, a leading malpractice insurance company

The Wellness of Chiropractic

How often do you go to the dentist to take care of your teeth? Just as we take care of our teeth on a daily basis, taking care of your spine is an important part of your wellness routine. When a nerve is trapped, the body is unable to respond and function as it should in our daily lives. Unlocking the joints with a Chiropractic adjustment allows the body to maintain good posture and full body wellness.
Chiropractic care is known for its ability to treat symptoms like back and neck pain, but its wellness effect on a person’s life is a major part of continuing to go to the Chiropractor. Growing our patients’ knowledge on the wellness benefits of chiropractic is a huge part of our office. In a recent study done by the NHIS, 43% of the households that responded to the survey replied that they sought out chiropractic care for general wellness. As our patients continue to come in to our office, they are reaping the benefits that our wellness plans provide!
Some of the benefits of Chiropractic Wellness care are:
Increased energy
Better digestion
Stronger immune system
Better sleep
Improved clarity of thought

Can Your Headaches be Helped?

Headaches can be frustrating and often times can be tricky to get rid of,but if the cause of them is known it can be easier to get rid of them. Something as simple as daily activities that can be perceived as normal can affect how the body reacts. A change of diet, excessive exercise, stressful situations and even a change in weather can cause or “trigger” a headache. But a majority of headaches are caused by neck tension.

In the work place a lot of time is spent sitting in one spot and for an extended amount of time. This in turn can create muscle tension in the neck and thus generate what is called a tension headache. As we all know, these can affect day to day activities such as

  1. Driving
  2. Social activities
  3. Work

What can you do?

1.Stretch every 30 mins to an hour to take a break from sitting.

2.Drink water in order to keep hydrated.

3.If you are a candidate for chiropractic care, getting an adjustment on your cervical spine will help alleviate those headaches in frequency and pain.

4.Come in to our clinic and postural exercises can be shown to you to help with balance and get you back on the right track.

Chiropractic Clinic

Small Change

Many health problems provide subtle warnings long before they become serious. Like radio telescopes scanning the heavens for the faintest signals from space, being aware of these early signs is important. If you ignore these quiet warnings, your body will increase these murmurings into something much louder to get your attention!

Those of us who are keenly aware of our body are sensitive to things like:

  • Changes in digestion or intestinal gas.
  • Pain when attempting to turn or bend.
  • A new and persistent cough.
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Sudden loss or increase of weight.
  • Appearance of dark circles under the eyes.
  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Waiting until symptoms become pronounced makes correction more difficult. If you’ve been waiting for a problem to “go away on its own,” call our practice for a thorough examination.