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Ergonomics In The Workplace

Ergonomics

What is ergonomics in the workplace? 

Ergonomics in the workplace is the ability to build your work environment around a proper posture. 

Why ergonomics matter in the workplace.

Sitting for long periods of time can take a toll on the human body, especially at the neck and low back. This lack of mobility can lead to severe muscular imbalances, aches, pain, and lack of flexibility. Setting up your workplace ergonomically can help prevent daily aches and pains and possible long term postural imbalances. 

Recommendations for proper desk set up.

  1. Sit back in your chair – Sitting at the edge of your chair only leads to a slouching posture, which gets worse throughout the day. This posture overworks muscles that shouldn’t be working when sitting for long periods of time. Sitting back in your chair can help rest and relax your back and neck muscles to be able to withstand long periods of sitting without putting tension on your neck and low back, thus relieving low back pain. 
  2. Rest your feet on the floor or footrest – Ideally your feet should be planted on the floor when you are at your desk. This means your hips and knees should be at a 90-degree angle with your feet resting on a footrest or on the floor. If your feet are up in the air, it pulls your hips down putting a strain on your low back and increasing the curvature in your spine.  
  3. Position the computer monitor height properly –The top of the monitor should be at eye level directly in front of you. If the top of the monitor is at eye level, it will help to avoid over working the neck muscles and causing the neck to bend down or up too much, putting a strain on the muscles. 
  4. Use your arm rests - Arm rests should be used and elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. By not resting your arms on the arm rest and positioning your arms and elbows at a 90-degree angle, you tend to raise your shoulders causing stress in the shoulder and neck muscles. Resting your arms on the arm rest can help to avoid this unnecessary stress.

How can a Physical Therapist help?

Physical Therapists specialize in the ability to identify how to properly position the human body to eliminate increased forces that can create long term postural imbalances. Our Physical Therapists are trained to perform ergonomic evaluations to determine how to properly set up a specific work environment to provide the least amount of stress on your body. Through a thorough postural analysis and an analysis of your specific work environment, our Physical Therapist will make clear recommendations on workplace set up as well as exercise recommendations to help improve your current posture and prevent long term postural deficits.  

If you are experiencing pain on a daily basis or want to improve your current posture, contact our providers at Ross Medical Group Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy for an evaluation today! 

Author: Dr. Monica Ross DPT, CMPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy 

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