Does your office make you sore? If so you may need ergonomics. In a 2013 survey by the American Osteopathic Association, 2 out of 3 office workers reported experiencing pain in the previous 6 months. The most common pain areas were the low back (63%), the neck (53 %) the shoulder (38%) and the wrist (33%). The same workers listed the main causes for their pain, including:
Sitting for long periods (64%)
Hunching over a desk (61%)
Sitting in an uncomfortable chair (58%)
Staring at a computer monitor (46%)
Using a computer mouse (38%)
If you work at a desk all day, this probably sounds very familiar. You may not think it’s a big deal that you experience back or neck pain at work, or you may think that’s “just the way it is”. But ignoring these pains over the long term could lead to more serious medical problems and even disability. With that in mind, we’ve compiled the tips offered most frequently by authorities on posture and ergonomics, to help you improve your office posture:
- Sit straight. The best sitting posture is level on both hips with back straight and shoulders relaxed. Don’t slouch sideways, hunch forward or cross your legs. Also, be sure your monitor, keyboard and other equipment are positioned so you don’t have to twist, lean or reach to use them.
- Use a comfy chair. If your chair is uncomfortable for any reason, it can cause stress and tension that leads to pain. Make sure your chair is comfortable to sit in for long periods and helps you stay in correct posture.
- Put your monitor and keyboard at the correct height and distance. Your monitor should be about an arm’s length away, (18 to 28 inches) with the top of the screen at or just below eye level. Your keyboard should be just under your fingertips when your shoulders are relaxed, arms at your sides and elbows bent to horizontal.
- Rest your feet flat. Resting your feet on the floor or a stool, with knees about level with your hips, helps support your legs and keep your hips and back aligned. But be sure you adjust your foot ergonomics only after your workstation is adjusted for correct upper body position. You can easily get a stool if the correctly positioned seat for your workstation lifts your feet too high to rest them on the floor.
- Use a hands free phone or headset. This prevents the neck pain that can result from constantly cradling your phone between your neck and shoulder while you type.
- Keep wrists straight and relaxed. Avoid holding your wrists tilted up or down, or twisted when you type and mouse. Get additional support for correct position by placing keyboard and mouse wrist rests where the heel of your hands can rest when you’re not typing or mousing.
- Get up and move! Stand up and stretch or walk around at least once every 30 minutes for a minimum of 1 or 2 minutes. This forces you to change your posture and lets your muscles move and stretch. You can get in even more movement by walking around when on the phone, or walking over to a co-worker’s desk to talk with them instead of emailing or calling them.
Following these tips on posture and ergonomics. Healthy office posture can help you prevent pain and more serious problems.
Rob Levine & Associates specializes in Personal Injury throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as Social Security Disability and Veterans Benefits throughout the country. As “The Heavy Hitter ®” Rob Levine not only works hard on your case, but also believes in making a positive impact in the communities he serves. Through internal resources, education and volunteerism, Rob Levine & Associates strives to help prevent accidents, as well as raise awareness around the needs of our elderly and returning Veterans. For more information visit www.roblevine.com , call 401.529.1222 or toll free 800-529-1222.