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5045 W. Baseline Rd Ste. 120
Laveen, AZ 85339
Today is Wednesday, January 17, 2018
The Laveen Chiropractor >Laveen Chiropractic News >    Better Workplace Ergonomics

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5045 W. Baseline Rd Ste. 120
Laveen, AZ

(480) 347-0382

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Better Workplace Ergonomics

Most Americans spend at least 40 hours a week sitting in an office in front of a computer. This doesn’t even include the time spent at home on your personal laptop or desktop. Over time, you may develop chronic conditions in your body including neck or back pains, numbness in the limbs, poor posture, carpal tunnel… the list goes on and on.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services often criticizes workplace environments and promotes more ergonomic working conditions. This will not only positively impact the safety of employees, but it will also increase productivity and contentment among workers. With proper workplace ergonomics, there is less of a chance for injuries, a greater level of comfort, and a decrease in stress.

When thinking about the effects of good workplace ergonomics, there are a few principles that are especially important to consider. First, it is essential that you comfortably assume different postures when performing a work activity for an extended period of time. When the body is stuck in one position for a long time, muscles fatigue because of bad circulation; this can make you more prone to injuries. Secondly, always remain in a neutral position when performing any tasks. Extending joints to the extremes of their range of motion can lead to stress injuries and chronic pain from overuse. Lastly, always use the largest muscles in the area when lifting anything, large or small. The larger the muscle group used for lifting, the lower the stress placed on smaller, weaker muscles.

There are also tips for greater comfort for those working in a cubicle or office setting. Many people tend to hunch over or slouch in their chairs, experience neck pains from staring at a computer monitor, or feel numbness in the low-back. Other common ailments are headaches, weakness in the legs, and wrist and/or elbow pain. A few things can be done to lessen these pains from occurring, or even get rid of them altogether.

For starters, make sure that you get up from your desk and walk around every half an hour. Take mini-breaks from your work to stretch your arms and legs. You can also do simple exercises like shoulder shrugs and neck rotations — especially those who are constantly on the phone. Using a headset for long phone calls is another way to relieve the stress from your neck. Those who are constantly looking at the computer screen put a lot of strain on the eyes. Ideally, if the cubicle comes with a window view, looking at objects outside every so often will shift the focus of your eyes to something far away; this will help them to relax.

The setup of your work area is also essential in determining your posture. Your desk should be the proper height and you should be able to reach all of the items on your desk comfortably. Your feet should be able to touch the floor when you are sitting, with your body and your legs forming a 90 to 110-degree angle. Also, make sure that your chair has a supportive back and a cushioned seat. Since you will be sitting all day, the seat needs to be cushioned for comfort and to prevent low-back pain. It’s a good idea to add an extra cushion if the seat gets uncomfortable. Lean against the back of your chair to avoid slouching or hunching over.

Keep your head and your neck aligned and be sure to look forward at what you are working on. If you are using the computer, adjust the height of your monitor so that your eyes are at the same level as the top of the monitor. Keep your head in a neutral position and your neck relaxed; don’t lean forward to look at the screen. If you are reading documents, use a bookstand to keep the pages in the one position so that your eyes can focus on the same spot.

There are also tips for improving workplace ergonomics for those who specifically use a computer all day. If you are using a laptop, make sure to plug in an external mouse rather than using the touchpad. The proper way to use the mouse is to move your entire arm and shoulder, and not just your wrist. Keep your hand and wrist relaxed and don’t hang your elbow off the edge of your desk — have ample room for your arm to rest on. As always, take breaks from using the computer to exercise your hand, wrist, and arm; stretch your fingers and arms periodically.

For those who do labor intensive work, and need to do a lot of heavy-lifting, it is important to assume the correct position when lifting objects. Do not bend forward to pick up heavy objects — always keep your back straight and left with your legs. By bending forward, you can very easily hurt the muscles in your lower back. Also, keep your elbows flexed, your head up, and keep the object close to your body. Try to stand with your body as straight as possible. And of course, know your own limit — if it’s too heavy, get help!

Hopefully, by following these tips for good workplace ergonomics, you’ll be able to improve your chiropractic health. It is up to you to do what’s best for your body and create the most comfortable environment to work in.

(480) 347-0382