The average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting. Most of this time is spent at a work desk or computer. Desk work can be taxing to your body, especially your spine. When sitting in a flexed position for an extended amount of time, your body begins to conform to this position resulting in neck and back pain, headaches and spinal degeneration!
Proper ergonomics in your workplace are vital for a healthy working environment.
The basic definition of ergonomics is the study of efficiency in working environments. The Department of Health and Human Services defines ergonomics as the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to employee capabilities. The principles behind ergonomics are used to improve employee’s working conditions making their jobs easier and more productive. Effective ergonomic workspace not only improve safety and productivity, but also make for happier and healthier employees!
Signs and symptoms of improper workplace ergonomics include:
• Blurry vision
• Eyestrain and eye dryness
• Stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or plantar fasciitis
• Excessive muscle fatigue
• Low back pain
• Shoulder and/or neck pain
• Calf and/or leg pain and tightness
If you experience any of the above symptoms, try incorporating these suggestions to make your work day more comfortable:
• Insure your desk is at a proper height.
• Your feet should be touching the floor with your legs and body forming a 90 to 120 degree angle.
• When you’re sitting, keep your body straight, with your head and neck upright. Do not hunch over or slouch.
• Adjust the height of your computer so your eyes are at the same height as the top of the monitor.
• When typing, keep your wrists straight, your shoulders perpendicular to the floor and forearms parallel to the floor.
Our bodies are designed for movement so it’s important to get up to move and stretch throughout the day. This stimulates different muscle groups that are turned off when you’re sitting and prevent excessive wear and tear to your body. To remind yourself to get up and move, try setting your phone timer to go off every hour. When the timer goes off, get up, walk around and grab some water. You could also place a sticky note on your computer monitor to remind you to get out of your chair!
Doing a few simple stretches throughout the day also helps alleviate the stresses of prolonged sitting.
As chiropractors, Dr. Kirkpatrick & Dr. Stewart see first hand the impacts of improper ergonomics and posture on the body. We are experienced in proper body mechanics and assessing improper body positioning and motion. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of improper ergonomics at work, we can help bring relief by improving your posture and bringing your body back into a neutral position so it can work more effectively and efficiently!