The key to preventing work-related neck and back injuries is to evaluate your workstation and make sure it is ergonomically correct and promotes good posture. The discomfort and pain from slouching at a desk all day is very common, with many office workers suffering pain at least once a week. If you are working at an ergonomically incorrect workstation or practice poor posture, you can suffer from neck, shoulder, wrist and elbow discomfort.
Good Posture Tips
Avoid unnecessary discomfort at work by focusing on your posture and making your work station ergonomically appropriate.
Typically, aches and pains from office work are caused by physical stress due to prolonged and awkward positions, repetitive motions and overuse. When applied to your workstation, these helpful tips will help promote good posture and correct ergonomics:
- Chair position - Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor, with your knees about level with your hips, making sure your seat is not resting against the back of your knees.
- Back support - Keep your backbone straight, shoulders back, abdomen and buttocks pulled in, and chin tucked. If your chair doesn't allow this, try placing a cushion between the curve of your lower back and the back of the chair.
- Footrest - Rest your feet on a flat surface. If your chair is too high, consider using a footrest.
- Computer monitor - Position your monitor 18 to 30 inches from your eyes. The top of your screen should be at eye level or below so you look sightly down at your work. If glare is a problem, turn off some or all overhead lights and close blinds if possible.
- Key objects - Arrange frequently used objects - such as pens, phones and your coffee cup - within 10 inches of your body.
- Headsets - Use a headset if you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time.
- Wrist rest - Keep your wrists in a straight, natural position when using your keyboard. Do not use your wrist while typing. Use it to take occasional breaks from typing.
- Mouse - Place your mouse to the side of your keyboard so you don't have to reach too far to use it.
It's never too late to start practicing good posture and office ergonomics. In addition to following the previous tips, it is beneficial to take stretching breaks throughout the day. Sitting at a desk all day, even with the best posture and ergonomics, can still be stressful on your body. On average, your body can only tolerate one position for about 20 minutes before needing to be readjusted. Taking a one-minute break every 20 minutes is helpful.
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