workstationdiagramThe Department of Health and Human Services defines ergonomics as the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to employee capabilities. The premise behind ergonomics is the easier it is to do a job, the less likely you are to injure yourself, making a more productive and happy worker.

There are three basic principles when considering the impact of proper ergonomics on workplace safety, 1) The largest muscles in the area should perform the task while lifting. The larger the muscle or muscle group used for lifting, the lower your chance of straining the smaller muscles in the area. 2) During work activity, you should be able to assume a number of different postures comfortably and not remain in one position for an extended period of time. While in the same position for a prolonged period of time, muscles fatigue and are more prone to injury. (e.g., partially bent forward at the waist for a prolonged period of time). 3) When performing tasks, it is important to avoid extremes ranges of motion for prolonged periods of time. This places abnormal stresses on the joints and can cause repetitive stress injuries.

 

When working at a desk, try these suggestions for greater comfort:  1) Choose a desk that is the proper height. All things on your desk should be within easy reach. 2) The computer monitor distance should be 20-40 inches away from the eye to the screen.  The screen should be directly in front of the user, and not at an angle, with the top of the monitor at eye level. Your eyes should be at the same height as the top of the monitor. Leaning your head forward can lead to headaches and neck pain. 3) The keyboard should be at elbow level, wrists should not bend, and shoulders should be relaxed. 4) Your feet should be touching the floor or on a footrest, with the legs and body forming an angle of 90 to 110 degrees. 5) Keep your body straight with the head and neck upright and looking forward, not to the side. Do not hunch over or slouch. 6) When reading at your desk, use a bookstand or a paper holder to keep your eyes in the same neutral position you use to read documents on your computer monitor. 7) When talking on the phone, use a headset, when possible, especially if you talk on the phone for prolonged periods. Holding the phone between your shoulder and cheek will only lead to neck pain and headaches. 8) Stand up and stretch your legs with a short walk about every 20 to 30 minutes. 9) Take micro-breaks often, stretching your neck, arms and wrists, back, and legs. Simple stretches include a pectoralis stretch, Brugger’s posture and standing overhead arm reaches. 10) If your eyes concentrate on a particular object for long periods; relax your eye muscles by shifting your focus from objects that are close to you to objects that are farther away. This helps reduce eye strain. 11) While working with the mouse, avoid moving the mouse with just your wrist. Use your entire arm and shoulder.

 

While you may not be able to implement all of these changes, try to add as many as you can. If you would like more information about setting up your ergonomic station, or any other health related topic, the staff at Middle Tennessee Chiropractic And Sports Injury, would be glad to assist you. Our goal is to help patients conquer pain and enjoy healthier lives. We utilize chiropractic care, nutrition and functional rehabilitation exercises to restore motion and reduce chronic pain.

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