Dwarf Bad Posture with Good Ergonomics
For most of us, the majority of our adult life is spent hard at work. Unfortunately, these long hard hours can be not only stressful but can deplete our normal health with illness and injury due to improper work areas and unsafe practices. But have no fear it does not take a fairy God Mother to design or redesign a workspace for safer and happier employees. Employees who will not put unnecessary stress on their bodies by holding a poor posture for a prolonged time creating most often back pain, neck pain, and headaches.
Top Tier Principles of Basic Ergonomics:
Ergonomics is the practice of designing or redesigning an area in which a person works to the specific needs and job requirements of that person. Over the last few decades, it has been applied by large corporations and businesses who wish to increase their bottom line simply by creating healthier and happier employees who are more productive as they are able to perform their tasks better and suffer less with illness and injury.
For an ergonomic workplace to be created, a proper assessment of the environment must, first of all, take place so that appropriate changes can be made on the basis of accepted ergonomic principles. Here are three top principles that are applied to a safe and healthy work environment.
- The stress of any lifting should be taken by the largest muscles to protect the smaller and more vulnerable ones.
- When working, the employee should be able to move comfortably between various correct postures so they do not over-stress one particular part of the body for an extended period. Muscles become fatigued when kept tense for too long, especially if that one posture is poor.
- Joints should move through no more than 50% of their range when performing activities, and preferably be kept in a neutral position. Joints that are overextended can become damaged and susceptible to repetitive stress/strain injuries.
Check List To Improve Your Work Station and Improve Your Performance:
- The height of the desk should be suited to your frame, and everything you need should be within easy reach.
- Your feet should be able to touch the floor, and the angle between your torso and thighs should be 90 to 110 degrees.
- Keep your body straight, head and neck upright, and keep your task directly in front of you. Don’t hunch or slouch.
- The top of your computer monitor should be at your eye level. Your head should be in a neutral position, otherwise, any leaning forward can cause pain in the neck and head.
- Your wrists should be straight when typing, and your shoulders and forearms parallel to the floor.
- Anything you read at your desk should be at the same level as though you were reading it on your monitor. Use a bookstand or a paper holder.
- Use a headset when talking on the telephone – certainly if you are doing so for long periods. Never use your shoulder to cradle the phone against your ear. This will lead to headaches and neck pain.
- Every 20 or 30 minutes, get up and stretch. It will help you re-energize and re-focus.
- Frequently stretch out your neck, arms, wrists, back, and legs while working. Try neck rotations, clenching and relaxing your hands into fists, dangle your arms, and shoulder shrugs.
- Don’t stare at one thing for too long. If your eyes do not frequently shift focus, they will become strained and tired. Take a few seconds to look at objects that are nearby to objects that are farther away.
Proper Use of a Mouse:
Use your arm and shoulder to move the mouse, not just your wrist. Hold the mouse loosely and keep your wrist straight and relaxed. The edge of your desk is not the best place to rest your wrist; instead, use a gel rest incorporated into the mouse mat. Take regular breaks during each hour to flex your wrists, and to move your arms and shoulders.
Check List for Safe Lifting:
When lifting anything off the floor, bend at the knees, not at the waist. Keep your head up, your neck and back straight, and use your leg muscles to power up to standing. Bending forward at the waist to lift brings your low-back muscles into it, and these can be easily pulled. Keep your elbows flexed and hold the object close into your body to further minimize back strain.
Mining For Diamonds – Your Health
Chiropractors specialize in the mechanics of the body and the impact of poor posture and repetitive activities has on your overall health. If you would like to know more on how to apply correct ergonomics into your workplace or environment, please contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
For Your Health,
Dr. Joseph Gambardella, Dr. Todd Brown and Dr. Benjamin Erb