Ergonomics: Workplace Wellness
Working at a computer work station all day can take a toll on the body. Repetitive activities and lack of mobility can contribute to aches, pains, and eventual injuries. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons. Workers in many different industries and occupations can be exposed to risk factors at work, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively. Exposure to these known risk factors for MSDs increases a worker’s risk of injury.
Examples of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries (affects the shoulder)
- Epicondylitis (affects the elbow)
- Trigger finger
- Muscle strains and low back injuries
Specific guidelines for your work station can help maximize your comfort and safety.
- Make sure that the weight of your arms is supported. If your arms are not supported, the muscles of your neck and shoulders will feel it by the end of the
- Watch your head position. Keep the weight of your head directly above your neck. Don’t crane your head and neck forward.
- Sit up straight! Slouching puts more pressure on the discs and vertebrae of your back. Use the lumbar support of your chair or move your chair as close to your work as possible to avoid leaning and reaching. Keep your body
- The monitor should be placed directly in front of you with the top no higher than eye level. The keyboard should be directly in front of the
- Talking on the phone with the phone receiver jammed between the neck and ear is really bad practice. Try using a headset.
- The keyboard and the mouse should close enough to prevent excessive reaching which strains the shoulders and
- Avoid eye strain by making sure that your monitor is not too close, it should be at least an arm’s length
- Take steps to control screen glare and have the brightest light source to the side of your
- Rest your eyes periodically for several seconds by looking at objects at a distance to give your eyes a
- Your feet should not be dangling when you are seated. If your feet don’t comfortably reach the floor or there is pressure on the backs of your legs, use a footrest or lower the keyboard and
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Many physical therapists are experts at modifying work stations to increase efficiency and prevent or relieve pain. Additionally, if you are experiencing pain that isn’t relieved by modifications to your work station, you should see a physical therapist who can help develop a treatment plan to relieve your pain and improve your mobility.
For more information about FMH Rehabilitation, please call any of our convenient outpatient locations