Ergonomics (tailoring the environment, especially at work, to your body dynamics) was not always a household term. It sounds more like a dull university class than a solution to your back pain. But, ergonomics is gaining new attention as more people spend multiple consecutive hours sitting.
The Triangle area of North Carolina is full of these ‘desk jockeys’ whose daily work involves tapping on keys at a seated workstation. One estimate suggests 86 percent of American workers say they sit all day at work. They also sit when they get home and on their commutes, creating an average of 13 hours a day!
Causes of bad office ergonomics
The science on sitting is pretty clear. It is even called “the new smoking” by some. It is very bad for our bodies if done for extended periods. Being at an office desk also has other problematic characteristics. Workers should also keep an eye on the following:
- Computer monitor: If the monitor is at the wrong height that isn’t suitable for an employee’s eye level, they may have to strain their neck to look up or down all day.
- Chair back: If the chair back does not have lumbar support, it can cause lower-back pain over time. Also, having upper-back and neck support in a chair is critical.
- Chair height: If the chair is set too high, the feet may not sit properly on the floor, putting pressure on the back of the legs. It also may put the head higher or lower than the monitor.
- Keyboard and mouse: When doing work in front, the arms should come out perpendicularly at approximately a 90-degree angle, so the hands and elbows are on a similar plane. The keyboard and mouse should be placed so this angle is encouraged.
The importance of ergonomics in a work environment
Ergonomics help optimize offices to prevent injury among the workers. If all of these elements are set correctly, chronic injuries, meaning injuries that develop slowly over time, will be more easily avoided. Some common injuries caused by bad office ergonomics include:
- Neck strain
- Carpal tunnel
- Lower back pain
- Muscle imbalances
- Lower-cross syndrome
- Upper-cross syndrome
- Poor circulation
When in doubt, seek assistance from a professional
Having to sit at a desk is fairly unavoidable for many modern professions. If you are a ‘desk jockey’ in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Morrisville or the surrounding areas, you can seek help for chronic pain caused by bad ergonomics. West Cary Wellness is a local expert with the knowledge and resources both to consult you on a better office set-up and on treating existing chronic pain and injury. Give us a call at (919) 303-1577 to begin addressing these issues today.