October is National Ergonomics Month, a time dedicated to promoting comfort, efficiency, morale, and safety in the workplace. Ergonomics is the study of people at work and their efficiency in their working environment. The term and importance of this concept wasn’t as widely known or considered until the pandemic began and more and more people were working from home, in less-than-ideal spaces and setups.
It is much more important than many realize, especially for those who work at a desk for long periods of time every day. Any job that uses consistent motions daily for several hours a day can increase the risk of pain, discomfort, or even injury. To help spread awareness this month, we’d like to share why ergonomics is important and ways to make your space more ergonomic.
How Ergonomics Affects the Body
At Active Health KC, we see quite a few patients who come in with lingering pain and discomfort from work. Taking ergonomics into consideration will not only help you feel good physically but mentally as well. Poor ergonomics can lead to aches, discomfort, or even injury on various areas of the body, including headaches, shoulder pain, wrist pain, back pain, etc. These negative effects can lead to lower levels of productivity, efficiency, and morale at work and within your daily life.
Make your health and wellbeing a priority by optimizing your workspace and taking good care of your body in every area of your life. Seeing a chiropractor, like myself, can also help with work-related pain, discomfort, and injuries. We’ll work together to create a treatment plan that will restore proper function to the spine and joints. I also provide specific exercises and stretches that benefit the muscles and joints proactively and reduce the possibility of chronic pain and reinjury.
How to Make Your Workspace More Ergonomic
When creating an ergonomic workstation that is good for your body and mind, you want to aim for a setup that allows your body to remain in a neutral position as well as possible. This will look different for everyone, since not all bodies are the same and require various means of comfort.
First, you should work on improving your workstation with all the equipment you utilize most frequently. You want to make sure that your chair and desk fit you, so you don’t want your desk too tall or too short or have your feet dangling from your chair. Your desk should be tall enough for your legs to be able to cross underneath, but not too much taller than that, or you may start feeling neck, shoulder, and wrist pain. Keep your keyboard and mouse somewhat close on your desk to avoid having your arms extended for long periods of time which can lead to strain on the shoulders. Place your computer or monitor screen(s) at or just below eye level two feet away to keep your neck from tilting too far up or down and to reduce strain on your vision.
Then, think about the way you sit throughout the day. There’s no such thing as “proper posture” or an ideal posture if utilized for long periods of time when working at a desk. You can sit however you please, as long as you change up your posture every 30-45 minutes. In whatever position you choose, try to at least keep your shoulders relaxed to avoid strain on your neck or shoulders. Take frequent breaks from your desk throughout the day to move and stretch your body, as well as allow your eyes a break from a screen. These breaks will also help reduce risk of work-related pain, discomfort, or injury.
Start Living Pain-Free
Taking care of your body in every aspect of your life is incredibly important, so you can live the life you want without pain getting in the way. Using consistent movements daily for several hours a day, like sitting behind a desk, can lead to discomfort, decreased physical function, and more if you don’t consider the ergonomics of your workstation. Take the time this month to make your workspace more ergonomic in the office and at home to better suit you and your body. Active Health KC can also help reduce work-related pain, discomfort, and injury so you can live and work pain free. Call for your free phone consultation or schedule an appointment online for a unique treatment plan to help you feel your best!