Are your workspace ergonomics causing neck or back discomfort?
A good ergonomic workstation should be designed just for you. If you are at a desk that has served numerous employees without any changes to the monitor or chair, then you may find the following information helpful, especially if you have frequent back or neck discomfort during your work day.
First, just what is ergonomics? Put simply, it is the study of how people work in their environment. Do you currently have a bad ergonomic work area? Great news! There are ways to make improvements which can improve your productivity, ease neck and back pain, and make your work day much more enjoyable.
Workstation position, which includes the height, distance, and tilt angles of your desk, computer monitor, and/or chair, may affect your postural alignment. While some of us cannot change our desk, we can change the height of our monitor and adjust our chair.
First, let’s talk about your chair. Ideally, when seated, you should have your feet flat on the floor with a 90 – 110 degree angle between your hips and thighs without undue pressure on the back of your thighs. You should be comfortable with your lower back supported. If you need to be perched on the edge of your seat then your chair is definitely not in the correct position. If you cannot change your desk height, and need to raise your chair to compensate, then you can use a low stool to rest your feet in order to put your legs in the proper position. Think of how you sit in your car.
Now let’s address your monitor. For the proper distance between you and the monitor, sit back and extend your arm. Your finger should touch the monitor screen. The top of your monitor should be 2-3 inches above eye level, which means that you should be looking down-not up to view content.
To determine the best position for your keyboard, your arms should be hanging vertically, and should bend no more than 20 degrees above horizontal (if sitting) or 45 below (if standing). Make sure they are not extended forward or back while typing.
A number of our patients are now using standing workstations and sit-stand work stations in order to change their position throughout the day. Studies have shown that working at a stand up desk minimizes fatigue, depression, and tension, as well as increases focus, energy and overall happiness. You should adjust a standing workstation following the same guidelines as depicted above. Check out the diagrams below and see how your work station measures up!
Even with a proper ergonomic workstation, you can still have neck, back and wrist discomfort from working long hours in the same position. Regular chiropractic adjustments can realign the spine, ease stress, and help restore correct posture. We are always available to discuss ways to optimize your workplace environment! I look forward to your comments! Dr. A. Lynn Williams