Joint Health Chiro

Top Tips for Perfect Posture and Excellent Ergonomics

Posture refers to the position in which someone holds their body when standing, sitting or lying down. Ergonomics on the other hand refers to the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. Ergonomics attempts to fit the job to the person and not the person to the job. In this way a job will have minimal impact on a person from a physical and mental stress standpoint.
The impact on the spine is (increased) by 4.5 kilograms for every 2.54 centimetres that the head moves forward from the centre of gravity. Now it becomes easy to understand why slouching and bad posture increases stress on the lower back, especially taking into account the weight of the upper body moving forward from the centre of gravity.

Understanding this becomes very important when taking into account the breakdown of time the average person spends each day on different activities. According to the Bureau of labour Statistics, American Time Use Survey, the average person spends 7.6 hours asleep, 8.8 hours working, 1.1 hours eating, 3.6 in activities outside of work and 2.9 other (i.e. driving).

From this we can see that over a third of our day is spent working and if our posture is bad this puts us at high risk for injury. This is where ergonomics comes into play. By assessing the work environment and equipment the environment can be altered to allow the individual to maintain their best posture and prevent injury or repeated stress.
Avoid issues such as neck and back pain, wrist strain and eyestrain from having an inappropriate desk setup, by following the next easy steps:

Chair

  • When taking your seat, sit upright and so that your back is in contact with the chair.
  • Relax your arms at the side ensuring that the armrests allow the shoulders to be relaxed as well (not shrugged).
  • Wrists/hands should be at 90-110 degrees angle to the desktop.
  • Ensure that your legs are able to go underneath the service of the table. Use a footrest if your feet are not in contact with the floor.
  • If your chair do not provide adequate back support, consider adding a lumbar support cushion.

Keyboard & Mouse

  • Remember to keep the shoulders relaxed.
  • The mouse should be positioned close to the keyboard so that it is easy to reach.
  • Do NOT bend your wrists up or down, keep them straight.

Monitor & Work Station

  • Position the workstation in order to avoid glare from overhead lighting or windows.
  • Make sure that the top of the desktop screen is at eyebrow level and that it is 40 to 75 cm away from the eyes.
  • If you are not looking straight forward, adjust the monitor height and angle.
  • The brightness of the screen should be adjusted so that it is comfortable and easy on the eyes.
  • Your desktop screen and glasses should always be clean.

Gadgets

  • Position documents that need to typed up on a stand or clipboard directly behind the keyboard in order to remove additional stress on structures in the neck from turning while typing.
  • Gadgets that are used frequently such as a stapler, calculator or phone should be within a 25 cm reach.
  • In the event of having to multi-task, refrain from cradling your phone on your shoulder – the mouse should be in one hand whereas the phone should be in the opposite hand. Alternatively,
    consider switching to speaker phone or using a headset.

There will be a significant reduction in strain on muscles, joints and ligaments from the neck to the wrists when incorrect posture is addressed by proper setup such as described above. And lastly, do not underestimate the importance of getting up, stretching or taking a short stroll every 30 to 45 minutes.