Ergonomics to prevent body pain With a constant increase in the use of computers, desk jobs are becoming more and more common in the current job trends. Individuals are confined to their cubicles and it becomes customary to spend 8 to 10 hours daily on an average seated on the chair.
This trend of desk jobs has rendered the routine human lifestyle to become sedentary and thus, a rise in health issues has been observed. Right from metabolic diseases to posture related problems, various diseases and disorders are affecting the world population. Body pain is one of the most common problems that people suffer from.
Although pain can be very discomforting and can be considered as a negative symptom, it is a kind of a signal body gives us at the start of any health issue.
Etiological factors like lack of an active lifestyle, tedious working hours, improper posture, and lack of adequate rest are triggers for body pain. The symptom of body ache is no longer associated only with the older age group, since the working community belongs to a middle aged group. Young people tend to suffer from chronic back pain since their work routine involves long hours of sitting at a single place, without many breaks. Also, people undergoing strenuous work hours become a target for chronic body pain.
To overcome this health problem, certain simple measures can be undertaken for prevention. The term ergonomics suggests the interaction of the environment with the occupation of the person. Management and adaptability to the environment with respect to the health concerns of the working professionals is looked after in ergonomics which ensures an enhancement in the quality of life for the workforce in a working environment.
The goals of ergonomics can be enlisted as follows –
1. Work related illness should be prevented
2. Workplace productivity should be increased
3. Quality of work should be improved
4. Work environment should not be detrimental to the physical as well as mental health of the working professionals.
Work ergonomics that are beneficial for people employed at a desk job are as follows:
1. The desktop should be placed at the distance of an arm’s length. Eye level of the operator should be at the apex level of the desktop’s screen.
2. Arms should be allowed to move freely and be able to rest on the arm rest of the chair.
3. Shrugging of the shoulders should be avoided.
4. Back rest of the chair should be used for support. The back rest of the chair should be present up to the shoulder and should be designed in a way that it is angled at a right angle to the sitting surface.
5. A convexity should be present in the lower back area of the chair for better support while sitting.
6. The chair height should be adjusted in a way that the knees form a right angle. Feet should touch the floor and not dangle in the air.
7. During typing or while using the computer’s mouse, wrist should be kept at a neutral position.
8. Back posture should be checked every hour and corrected if faulty.
9. A small break of 5-10 minutes should be taken at an interval of 2-3 hours to change position. Walking around and stretching the body helps relax the muscles.
10. When a laptop is in use, it should be placed on a stand in a way that the screen is placed in front of the operator’s eyes. To determine whether a person’s posture is correct or not, a physical therapist can be consulted. Maintaining a correct posture is very important to avoid suffering from a back ache.
People who suffer from conditions affecting the spine should seek expert opinion for maintaining their posture and avoiding spine related complications. The postural muscles play an important role in maintaining the body’s posture for long hours. Exercises that are targeting to enhance the strength of these muscles can help to build up adequate muscle strength.