Your Health Matters

Workplace Ergonomics

Do you spend all day sitting in front of a desk?

End up arriving home with that chronic back or neck pain day in day out?

Below are some handy tips from Sportreat Physiotherapist Holly Thillainath on how to set up your work environment along with some guidelines that you can follow:

Spinal pain or injury is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders experienced in the workplace, and this condition can lead to significant burden on the individual and the community. Although work-related lower back and neck pain are extremely prevalent in modern society, there are also a number of other injuries including muscle strains or ligament sprains, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury (RSI). In order to prevent occupational injury, there are seven steps to make sure you stay safe on the job:

  1. In your workspace, choose a good chair and make sure your rear is positioned all the way to the back. For additional lumbar support, roll up a towel and position it to maintain the slight curvature of your lower back. The back of your knees should be two finger-widths apart from the seat’s edge.
  2. Always follow the 90-90 rule! Position your desk so that your elbows, hips, knees, and ankles are all at a 90-degree-angle position for optimal alignment.
  3. Keep your feet flat on the floor so that your weight is distributed evenly. Dangling feet cause pressure on the legs, making other body parts compensate. Use a footrest if your feet don’t reach the floor.
  4. Position the top of your computer screen at eye level to prevent eye and neck strain. If you’re using a laptop (or your workstation doesn’t allow for this) raise your screen by resting your laptop on a phone book or similarly shaped flat, rectangular object. Just make sure it’s well balanced, and won’t fall in the event you are called away unexpectedly.
  5. Keep your wrists straight, relaxed and in a neutral position in line with your forearms. When typing, allow your wrists to float above rather than resting them on the edge of the keyboard or the wrist pad. However, if you do require this in order to type efficiently, rest only the heels of your palms and not your palms. If possible, use the wrist pad only briefly between typing movements and not throughout typing.
  6. Look away from the computer screen frequently to allow muscles inside the eyes to relax. Focus on items that are away from you in one metre increments up to 5 metres for approximately one minute. Blink your eyes rapidly to refresh tear film and clear dust. One more suggestion is to look at the colour green to soothe eyes – several studies have shown that the color green is calming for the eyes.
  7. Perform back, shoulder, and wrist stretches at least every hour to prevent body strain and stress. Rolling your shoulders back and then forwards (in a shrugging motion) will also reduce the tension in your neck and upper back. Standing and moving periodically throughout the day will also reduce the likelihood of back injury and could also prevent obesity. One recent study found that if you stand or walk around for at least two minutes every twenty minutes you’re at work, you could burn up to 20% more calories throughout the day.

Call Sportreat today to visit one our of fabulous physiotherapists. Tel 9438 2400 or you can email reception to make an enquiry.

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