An improperly prepared, non-ergonomic work environment will cause pain and trouble with eyestrain, muscular strain and associated pain of the neck, shoulders, upper and lower back and legs, not to mention the arms and wrists.
Some tips and tricks for setting up an ergonomically correct work station:
Changes to make to your work set up:
1. Position your keyboard lower than your elbows (try raising the height of your chair and folding the legs on your keyboard.)
2. Push the keyboard farther back on your desk, so that your forearms and palms are supported by the desk when you type. Or, rest your palms and forearms on a keyboard wrist rest and the armrests of your chair. This seems to reduce tension in arms and shoulders.
3. Stay aligned. Keep your keyboard directly in front of your monitor. If you have to look sideways to view it, you increase the risk of upper body pain.
4. You may be eligible for a free consultation. Contact your human resources department to find out if you have an office ergonomics consultant with their employer.
Proper desk posture:
1. Sit at a 90 degree trunk-to-thigh angle (made more comfortable with an ergonomic chair- moveable back independent of the seat pan and waterfall seat design),
2. Sitting straight and all the way back in the chair, ensuring lumbar support (with ergonomic chair, separate piece, or rolled-up towel- secure with elastic or tape)
3. Keeping elbows close to sides, at a 90 degree angle and keep keyboard at neutral elbow height (arm rests are generally NOT recommended)
4. Keeping feet flat on floor or footrest with knees slightly lower than hips
5. Placing wrists on soft padded wrist rests to keep neutral (not essential and should be only used occasionally)
6. Keeping screen height at a position that keeps the neck straight (top of viewing screen should be at or slightly below eye level and screen should be perpendicular to work surface to prevent glare)
7. Taking frequent breaks to stretch out and allow muscles to relax or at least look away from screen, take deep breaths, and stretch
8. Back of knees should not come in direct contact with the edge of the seat pan (there should be 2-4 inches between the edge of the seat and the back of the knee)
9. Have enough space under your work surface so that you can pull your self all the way up to the edge of the desk with room for your legs and knees to fit comfortably
10. When using a mouse, do not bend your wrist upward. Make sure you are sitting high enough for the workstation to be slightly below elbow height so that your hand rests naturally on the mouse
If you do have neck, back, shoulder and/or wrist pain that might have been caused by ergonomic problems, Chiropractic and Active Release Technique are great modalities used in the treatment of these problems. Click here to learn more about our Chiropractors and ART.