YOUR HEALTH and workplace ergonomics

YOUR HEALTH and workplace ergonomics

As your workload increases, so do repetitive actions such as keyboarding and answering the phone. These routine tasks can add a level of physical stress to the emotional and mental stress of getting the job done. In fact, repetitive strain injuries have skyrocketed in the last two decades due to the increasing reliance on workplace technology.

The good news is that a few simple changes to your office set-up can help make your job easier, safer and more efficient.

  • Keyboard: Position it above your lap. Ensure that you can type with your arms relaxed, close to your body with elbows bent at 90 degrees and wrists level.
  • Computer monitor: Position it directly in front of you. Keep it free of dirt and smudges in order to reduce glare. Allow the muscles in your eyes to relax by following the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and focus on an object that is at least 20 feet away from you. Make sure to use proper corrective eyewear to avoid leaning or straining forward to see the computer screen.
  • Mouse: Some workers have a vice-like grip on the mouse. Try using a light grip to avoid strain. When you move it around, use your elbow to guide it instead of your wrist.
  • Telephone: Use your hand to support the telephone against your ear and alternate sides regularly. Do not cradle the phone between your ear and your shoulder. If you are on the phone a lot, consider using a headset or speaker to reduce strain on your neck and arms.
  • Chair: Sit upright and all the way to the back. Place a support cushion or roll against the arch of your back for lumbar spine support.
  • Take a break: Try not to sit in any one position for a long period of time. Take a quick stretch break or change position every 10 minutes. For a quick and easy stretch, stand up and raise your arms above your head.
  • Visit your chiropractor: Chiropractors can help prevent workplace problems by advising you on how to set up an ergonomic workstation. Should you suffer a repetitive strain injury, a chiropractor can also provide treatment for your pain.

80 per cent of Canadians will suffer from back pain in their lifetime. If required, a chiropractor can treat your pain through a variety of methods. These can include spinal and joint adjustment, soft tissue therapy, and therapeutic exercises.

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