Day in and day out I get patients whose pain has originated at their workplace. So no matter how much they treat their condition, the minute they get back into faulty postures at work, they are back to square one. Whether you are a gym enthusiast or a sedentary person glued to your laptop, it is essential to know how to keep yourself injury free at work.
Did you know there is a science that relates you to your work? In fact, it includes the anatomic, physiologic and mechanical principles that affect how efficiently you work. It’s called ergonomics, and it’s something you should take seriously. There are plenty of simple things you can do to help you work more efficiently and prevent injury while at work. An injury at work is more common than you think. One can easily pull a back muscle, strain the eyes, or develop long-term wrist pain by simply working. But by changing a few things, like the way you sit or position items at your desk, you can decrease the chances of a work-related injury.
Get That Desk in Shape
Sore arms? Achy neck? If you use a keyboard and mouse, follow these tips to decrease the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome and achy joints.
Keyboard: Place the keyboard directly in front of you. As you type, your arms should hang comfortably and your shoulders will feel more relaxed. Adjust the slope of the keyboard so that your forearms, wrists and hands feel comfortable. Be sure your wrists and hands do not rest on hard edges. Use rest pads for your wrists if you commonly feel pain.
Mouse: Make sure the mouse is located immediately to the right or left of your keyboard. Leaving it too far to any side or toward the keyboard's back can create strain.
Monitor: Raise the monitor so the top of the screen is at eye level. This will allow you to read without bending your head or neck. If you need to lean forward or backward to read the screen, it is not at the right position. The monitor should be two feet away from you. Position the monitor directly in front of you so you don't have to twist your head or neck to the side. Consider using a glare screen, which eliminates glare from lights or windows for a clearer image.
Take a Seat
There’s a right way and a wrong way to sit. Try these steps to adjust your work chair and prevent injury:
1. Remove all the items in your pockets. Removing your wallet before you sit down is a must for men. Sciatica or leg pain often originates from this habit.
2. Sit down in your chair and move your hips back so they are against the back of the chair.
3. Adjust the seat height until your feet are on the floor. Remember, your hips should be at the same height or slightly higher than your knees. There should be no massive difference.
4. Adjust the backrest height so the curve of your lower back is resting comfortably.
Break It Up
Try to avoid sitting at your desk all day. Take a short break to step outside or get a cup of water. No time? Stand up and stretch, or consider walking around the office for a moment. Just stretching your arms and legs will do wonders for the body, and you’ll feel like you recharged your batteries.
Work can be stressful enough. Don't add injury to the mix. By keeping a more ergonomic workstation and stretching daily, you can lower the odds of injury and feel better all daylong.
You can also do proactive things such as get an expert take a look at your desk and identify things that be causing your pain or follow a quick short exercise routine at your desk once or twice a day. Engage enthusiastically in yoga, Zumba or any active initiatives that your workplace may provide. If there is a gym in the building or close-by take advantage of it. Remember the human body is designed to move, not sit and stare at a screen for an umpteen number of hours!