Defining Ergonomics

The study of ergonomics has been a hot topic for many years. Ergonomics is defined as the study of the human body mechanics (how it works) and how it interacts with various physical and positional stresses.

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The Rise of Ergonomic Concerns

This became an issue in the early 1980’s with the advent of computers in the workplace. With this change in the way we used our bodies, new problems started cropping up for people that had been relatively obscure before such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tension headaches, neck pain and postural strain.

The human frame is designed to work in a particular way and is strong enough to withstand a wide variety of activities without suffering wear and tear. The spine supports the head, neck, shoulders, hips, and arms in a balanced position to decrease the amount of stress on any one area.

Working for extended periods of time in an improper position or performing repetitive activities without rest can affect this balance and create a situation where irritation can develop in the soft tissues of the body including the nerves, muscles, and tendons. If this condition is untreated it usually worsens over time. It is important not just to treat the condition but to look for ways to change the factors that created it.

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Preventative Measures

When using a computer there are several preventive measures that can be taken:

  • Be sure that the monitor is at eye level to you when you are seated. Looking up or down for extended periods can create postural strain in your neck.
  • Avoid resting wrists on hard desk edges.
  • Keep the items that you use frequently as close to you as possible to avoid strain from reaching.
  • A headset for the phone can also be helpful and will decrease neck strain.
    Sit straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Your back should be supported in your chair.
  • Take breaks to stretch periodically. Changing tasks, if possible, can also decrease the repetitive stress to the body.

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Everyone Is Unique

Why are some people more susceptible to ergonomic problems? It depends a lot on the internal structure and state of health of your spine. Your skeletal system provides the framework for your muscles and posture. Many people have problems with their spines, including:

  • Degenerated discs
  • Scoliosis
  • Misalignments
  • Postural Imbalance

Often these underlying problems go undetected for years. They can increase the chances of someone having a pain or problem with function. It’s a good idea to have your spine examined, especially if you feel sore, stiff, or tense.

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Help Your Health and Productivity

Studies have demonstrated that employees who use better ergonomics have better productivity, less work errors, and less time lost on the job due to injuries. Check the library or internet for more information. Most office supply stores stock any necessary items for ergonomic upgrades.

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Wondering if chiropractic could help you feel and work better? Please call for a consultation to discuss your concerns.