Computer ergonomics: Get it straight or you'll feel the pain!
Follow these 5 rules and you'll finish your day pain-free.
Neck, back and shoulder pain don't have to be a part of your day at work
and they certainly shouldn't follow you home at night. Low back pain affects up to 85% of the working population at least once in their lives (Institute for Work and Health).
Sadly the costs of these trends have risen 40% since 2006.
1) Keep your curves.
Maintaining the normal curvature in your lower back while sitting reduces pressure on the discs in your back. This lowers your risk of a disc herniation. If you're 5 foot 5 and use a chair that feels like it's made for someone a foot taller than you, it's time to make a change. Ask for an ergonomic assessment from a trained occupational therapist and get your work station set up for your body. You can visit Kinemedics
to arrange an ergonomic assessment.
2) Don't sit for too long.
Set your default printer to the one down the hall. Getting up and standing or walking periodically reduces tissue strain on the disc and muscles. Too busy to take breaks?
The longer your day, the more you need to get up. Even short breaks (3-4 minutes) of standing and walking make a big difference for your back.
3) Don't stick you neck out for anyone.
If your screen is too low, your font is too small or your back is rounded, you'll find yourself sitting with the dreaded "head forward posture". This is the major cause of avoidable headaches, chronic neck tension, and shoulder pain. Not sure what your work station ergonomics should look like for your body? Have a look at our Workplace Ergonomics Handout
that you can print off and compare with your current computer set up.
4) Stretch it out.
Make stretching part of your regular day at work.
Try to do them at the same time every day. Studies show that people who exercise at the same time every day have the greatest chance of sticking with the program long term. Print out our "Officewise Stretches" here
and do them each day after your lunch break.
5) Don't reach too far.
If your mouse, phone or documents that you use regularly are more than an arm's reach away, they're too far. Clear away the front of your desk and keep those items close to you to minimize strain on your neck back and shoulders.
If you use paper documents on a regular basis you should get a document holder to hold your papers vertically next to your screen. If you regularly use the telephone, ask for a wireless head set with a lifter to answer calls and keep working without cradling the phone on your shoulder.
Remember: pain is not normal.
If you are dealing with pain on a daily or weekly basis, it's time to do something about it. Give us a call
and after we've assessed you, we'll help you figure our what areas of your workplace setup are causing your pain.
Knowing how to limit the physical strain on your body will allow you to focus on your work and not on your pain.