Desk Ergonomics 101

Whether you sit or stand to work, how your desk, chair, monitor and body are positioned matter. Research is showing, it actually matters a lot! According to a NCBI medical article, “Prolonged sitting at sub-optimal workstations is associated with musculoskeletal dysfunction. The musculoskeletal dysfunction presents as pain or muscle tension of the cervical, shoulder, and lumbar regions.”

With so many of us working behind computer monitors, the hours of repetitive movements in the wrong positions can cause problems such as back pain, neck pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Tennis Elbow. But, the good news is there are fairly simple ways to prevent injuries and pain if your desk ergonomics are healthy.

If you sit to work, here are some recommendations:

      1. Keep your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
      2. Maintain a 90-degree bend in both the elbows and knees, keeping elbows close to your body.
      3. Your wrists should be straight and your fingers relaxed.
      4. Maintain a 90-100 degree bend in the torso to thighs.
      5. Opt for a lower back lumbar support addition to your chair at a thickness level that keeps the natural, healthy curve to your spine.
      6. Keep the top of your computer monitor at eye level with your chin parallel to the floor.
      7. Keep the distance of your eyes to your computer monitor approximately the same size as your screen. For example, if you have a 20-inch monitor, keep the monitor 20 inches from your eyes.
      8. Keep the mouse close to your keyboard.
      9. Try a silicone wrist rest at the base of your keyboard.
      10. Keep the shoulders back and sit up tall and straight.
      11. Take your eyes off the screen and focus on something else in the room about every 20-30 minutes. This will help with eye fatigue.
      12. Take regular breaks! Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to get up, stretch and walk around a bit to loosen those joints and muscles.
      13. Drink lots of water! Yes, water! Your joints and muscles will thank you!

In recent years, there has been a push for standing desks. While standing desks definitely have their perks, this next list has handy suggestions to remember about standing desk ergonomics. Some of the same suggestions apply to standing desks ergonomics as for sitting desk ergonomics, so some ideas are repeated:

      1. Consider an adjustable standing desk so that you find the perfect height that does not put strain on your neck, back, wrists or elbows.
      2. Elbows to remain close to your body.
      3. Keep wrists and forearms at 180 degrees.
      4. Your wrists should be straight and your fingers relaxed.
      5. Have the keyboard at hip level so that hands remain at the height of the elbows or slightly lower. This may require a separate keyboard tray.
      6. Keep the top of your computer monitor at eye level with your chin parallel to the floor.
      7. Keep the distance of your eyes to your computer monitor approximately the same size as your screen. For example, if you have a 20-inch monitor, keep the monitor 20 inches from your eyes.
      8. Keep the mouse close to your keyboard.
      9. Keep the shoulders back and stand up tall.
      10. Consider shifting your weight from leg to leg.
      11. Get an anti-fatigue mat to stand on.
      12. Consider keeping a stool nearby in case you need to shift from standing to sitting from time to time.
      13. Wear comfortable shoes! If you have orthotics, wear them! No high heels!
      14. Take your eyes off the screen and focus on something else in the room about every 20-30 minutes. This will help with eye fatigue.
      15. Never hold the same position too long. Move around and take regular breaks.
      16. Drink lots of water! Yes, water! Your joints and muscles will thank you!

But, wait! There’s more! Did you know that how you are looking at your phone, tablet and laptop when you are away from your desk can cause just as much harm? Keep your screens at eye level, so matter what device you are using. If you use your cell phone or tablet a lot at your desk, consider a special stand for those devices to keep them at eye level. Also, try using a bluetooth headset with a mic so you do not have to lean your head over to hold your phone as you talk.

Pain should not be a way of life. It is time to take care of yourself. To request an appointment, click here for Elite Relief, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:

Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Shelbyville: 931-684-0027
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022

References:

https://www.startstanding.org/proper-workplace-ergonomics/

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/10-ergonomic-tips-to-immediately-improve-your-workspace/

https://www.ergonomics.com.au/how-to-sit-at-a-computer/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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