Monday, July 1, 2013

Stay Pain-Free with Office Ergonomics

Office ergonomics can help you stay comfortable at work, increase your productivity and help you stay pain-free.

Hand on mouse
Proper workspace set-up can help aleviate aches and pains.

Do you work at a desk? Do you experience a sore neck, back, wrists or fingers? Desk work, including computer and telephone use, need not cause pain. Ergonomics is the arrangement and usage of proper furniture, tools and body posture to limit painful injuries. Office ergonomics can help you stay comfortable at work, increase your productivity and help you stay pain-free.

Try these quick tips to arrange your office:

  • Computer monitor: It should be arm’s length from your face, directly in front of you, and top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level.
  • Office chair: Adjust the height of the chair so your feet are flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Keyboard and mouse: They should at the same level. While you type, your wrists should be straight, with your hands at the level of your elbows or slightly below.
  • Headset: Consider a headset if you talk on the phone and type at the same time. Avoid cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder. This can worsen a stiff neck.

Once you ergonomically rearrange your workspace, you should feel more energy throughout the day because your body is no longer taxed with extraneous movements and repetitive demands.

Many simple body motions can become burdensome if we are muscularly deconditioned (or out of shape). To avoid chronic pain from work-related tasks you should have a high level of physical fitness. Conditioning yourself with regular cardiovascular exercise and weight-bearing exercise will improve your ability to do work free of pain and prevent some illnesses. Make a visit at Bastyr Center for Natural Health if you have concerns about pain.

— By Justin Steurich, ND, naturopathic doctor and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

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