In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 357,160 cases of work related musculoskeletal disorders that resulted in people not being able to work.The costs associated with this lost productivity in the US amounted to 61.2 billion, according to the Journal of American Medical Association.
Simply changing the ergonomics at work can make your workdays pain free. There are many things you can do prevent pain and strain. Practicing proper ergonomic principals at work helps to make sure you are comfortable, reduce health issues, and increase productivity. You can easily reduce stress injuries, back, neck and shoulder strain and muscle pains.
What kind of repetitive activities can lead to soreness, pain and even sprains and strains: Bad posture while sitting, reaching across your desk, bending your wrists up when you type are some examples, looking at the computer screen for long periods of time, being stressed out while working at your desk.
To stay comfortable at work and go home pain free, here a few simple changes you can make:
- Shoulders- Keep your shoulders relaxed when sitting at the desk and at your computer. Too many times, your shoulders are raised up and forward and stay up there in a crunched manner. This causes the muscles of the trapezius to spasm. This can create knots in the upper back and shoulders. It is best to keep your elbows close to your sides as you use your keyboard and mouse. Every once in a while take a moment to check your shoulders. Roll your shoulders up and back to decrease tension.
- Eyes- Make sure the distance from the screen to the your eyes is an arms length. Look away from the screen regularly so as not to stare at the screen. Position the top of the monitor screen at or slightly below , eye level. Try to take breaks 10 to 20 minutes to rest the eyes from the glare of the monitor.
- Hands and Wrist- Keep your wrists straight and in a neutral position. Keep the bottom of your elbows even with the keyboard height, not below. Don’t use a lot of force when typing. Also use your chair arms for support.
- Back and Legs- Adjust your chair so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit back comfortably on your chair. It is a good idea to use a lumbar support for your lower back. Place your feet on a footrest or a yellow pages from years past. This relieves pull on the lower back. Again take breaks throughout the day to stretch your back and legs. Do this at least once every hour if possible.
Additional Reading Resources:
Lower Back Rests, Lumbar Support belts, and Lumbar Traction Devices- Get the proper support in the lower back region to minimize lower back pain and stiffness.
Proper Neck Posture