Ergonomic Tips to Keep You Feeling Pain-Free at Work
Injury Care & PreventionWellness Mar 6, 2019
Ergonomic Tips to Keep You Feeling Pain-Free at Work

The proper ergonomic set-up is key if you work on a computer or at a desk during the day. If you don’t have a good ergonomic set-up this may result in neck pain, low back pain, elbow pain or tendonitis, numbness or tingling, to name just a few. Proper ergonomics means that your environment fits you individually and you are in the best position possible while working.

Here are the best tips for proper ergonomic set-up:

  1. Feet flat. This means that both feet are firmly grounded, and equal weight is on both buttocks and down through the feet as well. Avoid crossing your legs, or having unequal weight through one side versus the other. Feet should reach the ground and give you that support you need.
  2. Hips above knees. Your chair should be at a height where your hips are above your knees. If the knees are higher than hips, it will put undue stress and strain on your low back and hip muscles. If you need to raise your chair for the hips to be higher, you may then need to have something underneath your feet so that they can remain flat and touching the ground as well.
  3. Lumbar support. The low back needs to be supported while sitting. This lumbar support can come from the desk chair itself. You may need to invest in a good chair if this is not the case for you. Otherwise, there are lumbar supports that you can add to your chair that will also do the trick. Swiss balls can be good to sit on for a few minutes at a time to work on posture, but this can be fatiguing to sit on the entire day so you should mainly use your back support while sitting.
  4. Elbows at 90 degree angles. When you are sitting tall in your chair with your back in a proper posture, your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. This is true whether typing or writing. This will also allow the wrist to stay neutral, rather than the wrist in an extended position, which puts stress on your wrist and elbow as well.
  5. Eyes level with a top half of screen. Often, the screen is too low for people and they are forced into looking down or hunching forward. When sitting, the eyes should be in line with the top half of the screen, and this will allow you to sit tall and have the head in line with your spine while reading the screen.

If you work on a laptop then the recommendation is to have the laptop in a holder so that the screen is eye-level. With this, you will need to have a bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse in the proper position so that you can still have your elbows at 90 degrees and wrists neutral. You will basically be setting up a computer station that has multiple pieces to it in order to have the proper ergonomic set up with your laptop.

Proper ergonomics are so important for your overall health. With that, take breaks and change your body position every 45 minutes for the best results. Gentle stretching throughout the day can be extremely helpful as well. As physical therapists, we will guide you in particular stretches, strengthening or work with you on your ergonomic set up. We can assist you in improving your posture as well as decreasing your pain in the meantime. We want to help you feel great and healthy while at work and into the future as well. Come and see us for an individualized treatment plan today.

Check out our recent Facebook LIVE session for even more information on setting up proper ergonomics at work!