A large proportion of the population spends most of the work day at computers. Even though these workers are not generally lifting heavy objects, climbing great heights, or using dangerous devices, many kinds of musculoskeletal problems can develop as a result of office work. Ergonomic innovations have been designed to improve posture in order to address such injuries when they happen and to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we recommend ergonomic equipment to our patients as part of our multi-faceted diagnostic and treatment services. We find that ergonomics can make all the difference in helping individuals hold and use their bodies in naturally correct positions and maintain overall health.
What does “ergonomic” mean?
The word “ergonomics” derives from root words for “work” and “natural laws” so it refers to syncing the job to physical and environmental realities as well as to the human body itself.
When we focus on ergonomics, we give ourselves the best chance to make our movements both efficient and comfortable. By enabling our bodies to maintain good posture, we give our bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments the opportunity to work at maximum capacity with minimal stress.
What is proper posture?
Here are examples of correct posture the skilled physiatrists at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation recommend:
- Standing with one foot a bit in front of the other to distribute your weight and correctly position your spine
- Sitting with support at your lumbar (lower) back to avoid letting your back curve into a C-shape
- Bending to retrieve something from the floor by squatting so that your body weight rests on the soles of your feet rather than on your back
- Keeping your neck aligned with your spine at all times
- Keeping your arms at right angles at the elbow when working at the computer
- Keeping your wrists level with your forearms when typing on a keyboard
To maintain correct posture, it is a good idea to adjust your seat when sitting for long periods and to take breaks to stand and stretch. Make use of available ergonomic equipment that will be helpful to you, especially if you have special physical needs.
How Ergonomic Equipment Improves Posture
In workplaces throughout the world, the following pieces of equipment have become more and more popular since they make for a more energetic, productive workforce:
- Sit-Stand Desks enable workers to adjust the desk surface to a variety of heights to allow them to sit or stand interchangeably. The desktop also tilts to a range of angles. Because medical experts have pointed out the damage that results from sitting for long periods, this invention continues to be remarkably effective in keeping workers limber. Changing positions not only helps to maintain correct posture; it prevents stiffening and helps the body to realign correctly at regular intervals.
- Ergonomic Monitors can be adjusted not only for height but for tilt, helping users to prevent eyestrain and strain of the head and neck.
- Ergonomic Mouses accommodate the natural curves of the hand and fingers, putting less strain on the wrist and therefore helping to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and related repetitive stress injuries. Such computer mouses are designed to avoid putting unnecessary strain on users’ ligaments and muscles.
- Ergonomic Keyboards have a split design with letters on one side and numbers on the other. Not only does the keyboard itself have a natural curve, but the two sides can be adjusted to keep the user’s wrists as comfortable as possible.
- Ergonomic Chairs with curves to support the lower back have been around for quite some time, but there are now chairs made with backs and sides of flexible mesh to conform to the particular user’s body as it alters position. Known as “intelligent” fabric, this mesh is able to accommodate even slight adjustments so that the user can maintain the correct posture.
- Adjustable Document Holders enable workers to avoid head, neck, and eye strain when looking back and forth from paper documents to the computer screen.
- Noise-canceling Headphones are extremely popular in office environments because they allow workers to listen only to sounds they tune into and avoid ambient noise. The newest ergonomic varieties not only permit users to alternate between listening to phone calls, podcasts, and music; they also provide three styles of wear: ear hook, neckband or headband.
It is important to be proactive about using ergonomics to prevent musculoskeletal problems by improving posture. Employees are wise to report early symptoms of such problems before they worsen and employers are wise to encourage such reportage. In the end, taking steps to use ergonomic methods early on can save everyone time and money.
If You Are Experiencing Musculoskeletal Problems, Contact Us Today
No matter how carefully you monitor your posture or how many ergonomic devices you use, you may experience musculoskeletal pain or dysfunction at some point. If you do, contact Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine for prompt relief. Our doctors have numerous treatment methods, both traditional and complementary, to restore you to a state of well-being.