If you are one of the million individuals working at home, you may be experiencing chronic pain or discomfort from poor ergonomics. We want to help you set up your ideal workspace. Our helpful tips will help you create a comfortable and safe workspace reducing your risk of injury, while promoting your ability to focus and stay productive.
What Are The Risks?
There are three main risk factors associated with poor ergonomics. These risk factors include posture, force, and frequency. When your body is positioned in a neutral position, your joints can absorb the greatest amount of force. However, if you were to position a joint in an awkward or extreme position, that joint becomes stressed. The joint may experience a reduction or blockage of blood flow making it more receptive to injury. The second most common risk factor is force, this involves the act of pushing, pulling, gripping and lifting an object creating additional force on the joint. This additional force requires the assistance of your muscles. The greater the force the greater the muscle’s exertion. Without proper rest and the recovery the likelihood of the muscle becoming fatigued increases. The last risk factor to consider is frequency, the higher the repetition of an awkward posture and the force placed on that joint the greater the potential for damage to the joint.
Symptoms Of Poor Ergonomics
- Reoccurring or chronic pain (aching, dull, sharp, stabbing and/or burning)
- Abnormal posture
- Decrease in range of motion (ROM)
- Discomfort with certain movements
- Extremities appear white or feel cold
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling or numbness sensation
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle Tightness or cramping
Steps To Improving Your Workspace
In order to begin making necessary improvements to your workstation it is important to understand the concept of neutral body positioning. This is a posture that is both comfortable and allows your joints to function in their natural alignment. Working from a neutral position reduces stress and strain on your skeletal system, muscles, and tendons.
Here is a visual aid:
- Head: forward facing, level and balanced
- Shoulders: relaxed and upper arms are hanging naturally at the sides of the body
- Elbows: are bent 90 degrees and stay close to the body
- Hands/Wrists: straight, in-line and roughly parallel to the floor
- Feet: supported by the floor or a footrest if desk height is not adjustable
- Back: fully supported in the lumbar & sacral regions of the spine
- Knees: are the same height as the hips with the feet slightly forward
By following these helpful guidelines you can create a workspace that will reduce your risk of injuries and chronic pain. For additional help analyzing your workspace and posture, you can bring pictures of your workspace to your next chiropractic appointment. Dr. Bob can assist you with following proper ergonomics protocols and help you optimize your current workspace. To schedule an appointment please call (407) 767-6466 and one of our friendly staff members will be happy to assist you!