Office Ergonomics: Preventing Work-Related Injuries
Desk workers are at high risk for posture-related injuries such as rotator cuff tears, low back pain, neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. These issues are preventable through proper work station set up, postural exercises, stretching, and changes in position. Below are our recommendations for preventing musculoskeletal injuries for desk workers:
Work Station Set Up:
- Sit in a comfortable chair with good lumbar (low back) support.
- Your feet should be in contact with the ground. No crossing of the legs, sitting with one foot under the buttock, or shifting your weight all the way to one side.
- Your hips and knees should both be at a right angle (bent about 90 degrees).
- Your keyboard and mouse should not be directly on the edge of your desk. Give yourself enough room to rest your forearms.
- Do not use multiple computer monitors in different corners. If you have multiple screens, keep them side by side, in front of you, and close to one another to avoid constantly rotating your head to one side.
- Your computer should be roughly 18 inches away from your face.
- If you are frequently on the phone, do not jam the phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset, hold the phone to your ear with your hand, or use speaker phone.
- Chin Tucks
- Scapular Retractions
*Perform these exercises 10 times every hour
- Upper Trapezius Stretching
- Wrist Flexor Stretching
- Hip Flexor Stretching
- Calf Stretching
*Perform these stretches for 3 sets of 30 seconds each. Perform at least 2-3 times per day.
If you are sitting most of the day, then stand up every 1-2 hours. Go for a short walk down the hall, and do a few gentle backward bends as can be seen below:
These techniques are meant to prevent injury. If you are currently suffering from injury or pain, please contact us to schedule a physical therapy evaluation.
-Paul Nasri, PT, DPT