Ergonomics in the Workplace

If you have a job working at a desk and have neck, shoulder, or back pain, it could be caused by the layout of your work station. There is a science to setting up your space correctly in order to avoid strain or moving in a way that will cause injury over time.

Here are some tips:

Your computer monitor

Your monitor should be at eye level so you only need to move your eyes to see the whole screen. Having to look up or down puts strain on your neck and the muscles that lead to your head, which can cause headaches. Raise the monitor using a monitor stand if necessary. Also make sure the monitor is directly in front of you so you don’t have to look right or left to see it. Constantly looking to the side all day long can twist the spine or neck.

Your desk

Ideally your desk should be at belly-button level with your elbows just below the desktop. You may need to raise your desk or lower your chair if your desk is too low, or get a taller chair if your desk is too high. Make sure everything on your desk is within easy reach.

Your chair

You should be sitting back in your chair, not perched on the edge. Pull your chair forward until your fingers comfortably reach the keyboard while your back and shoulders are supported by the back of your chair. Tilt your chair forward until your knees are 20 to 30 degrees lower than your hips. Use a foot stool if your feet don’t rest comfortably on the ground.

Your movement

Get up from your desk at least once every hour. Walk around, stretch, or do a small chore to give your body some movement. In a future blog we’ll discuss a few stretches for desk workers that will help keep away back pain.

Make sure when you are rearranging your desk that you get someone to help you. When you first start sitting straighter it may seem strange, but stick with it and you’ll feel much better in the long run!

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