Working in an office has its ups and downs, and one of the downs is sitting in one position for long periods of time. If you sit for a long amount of time while being in a poor posture or sitting position you can cause harm to your neck, back, spine, and more. You could experience muscle strain, or cause issues with spinal alignment. Ergonomics is the practice of making the office space as safe as possible to prevent injury and long term issues like neck pain or back pain.
Common problems when sitting or standing at a desk all day are hunching over, forward head posture, eye strain, carpal tunnel, and headaches. By using active ergonomics you can prevent these problems from forming, or from getting worse. Hopefully if you have one of these conditions currently you can reverse the progress and start feeling better over time.
Sitting is one of the biggest ergonomic improvements a person can make since it is the entire bodies shape and position that has an affect on multiple areas. You should try to avoid slouching first of all, with your hips pushed to the back of the chair. The best chair is one that supports the upper and lower back, and if so the chair can guide your posture. Lower back pain is an extremely common ailment to many people in the world. Neck pain is also very common, much of the time due to sitting in a poor position for extended periods of time. You should keep your head, neck and shoulders relaxed with the elbows close to your body. Keeping your arms, wrist and hands in a straight line and parallel to the floor.
Eye strain can be a real problem in the office as well if you stare a bright monitor for hours on end. In order to combat this you should take a break from looking at the monitor every 20 minutes or so for 20-30 seconds. Lowering the brightness setting of the monitor can also help reduce eye strain and possibly prevent headaches. The monitor should be about an arm’s length away as well.
Chair position is also something to think about when sitting at a desk. You will want to be pretty close to your keyboard since the more you have to stretch your arms the more you’ll tire. You want your elbows in a neutral bent position. The chair should be acceptable for your height with your feet resting on the floor with knees at hip level. Keep most of the items you use frequently closely to minimize over reaching. You can also lock your chair to prevent it from tipping back.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is another problem for people who spend a lot of time on computers. You might experience tingling or numbness in your fingers and then it could develop into severe pain in the wrists. All this is caused by pressure on the median nerve which happens when your wrist presses down against your desk while typing. Taking a break to stretch your hands out for a few minutes is a good way to combat carpal tunnel. During the day you should also avoid bending your wrist extensively and keep it in a straight, neutral position. A wrist brace helps you do this as well.
All in all, keeping your office space ergonomic and keeping all these things in mind will help you be healthier and safer. Prevention of injuries is the best strategy when it comes to medical health in the office.