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Ergonomics at the office

posture bad posture goodErgonomics at the Office

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an average office worker spends 95% of their day sitting in front of the computer. Long periods of sitting have been shown to stall metabolic processes such as breakdown of fats and sugars in the body increasing health risks but when you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.  Short breaks to stand, walk around, and stretch are extremely beneficial to your body and are recommended at least once an hour. Some ways to break up periods of sitting involve standing while on the phone, taking walks during lunch breaks, taking the stairs whenever possible, and keeping a water bottle with you to go refill throughout the day. Since sometimes it is unavoidable to be sitting at work, it is important to make your work station as comfortable and ergonomically efficient as possible. Making simple changes at your desk can help avoid headaches and eye strain as well as neck, back, and wrist pain. Here are some tips to help improve your work station or even your computer at home:

  • Mount your screen in order to make the top part of the monitor at the same height as eye level to keep your neck in a neutral position
  • Distance the screen about 65-75cm from your eyes to avoid eye strain as well as allow you to sit back without leaning forward with your upper body
  • Make sure to be conscientious about keeping your shoulders back and relaxed to avoid muscle tension
  • Place the keyboard at a height that will allow you to type and use the mouse while keeping your elbow at a 90-100 degree angle and your wrists in a neutral straight position
  • Choose a comfortable chair that provides natural lumbar curve support
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor or supported by a pedestal allowing your knees to be at a 90-100 degree angle
  • Make sure your chair is adjustable in height in order to accommodate different people who may be using the computer
  • Keep tools you use often, such as your phone or documents, close in order to prevent excess stretching or awkward movements
  • Use your whole body to turn rather than only twisting your neck to turn
  • Change your position often and get up and move as much as possible

Use these simple tips to make a more comfortable workspace that will avoid possible muscle strain and tension. Most importantly, be sure to stay relaxed and conscientious of your own posture and keeping your spine and body in a neutral position. Once you’ve made your desk more ergonomical, feel free to share with friends and coworkers!

Article contributed by Dr. Sydney Scheft, Wellpath Chiropractic Intern 2014