The Importance of Ergonomics in Preventing Work-Related Orthopedic Issues

Office workers are considered lucky for having a risk-free work environment: no weight lifting, no climbing on scaffolding and no heavy machinery that could malfunction. However, even white collar employees can suffer from work-related orthopedic conditions due to poor ergonomics.

In this article, the doctors at our Columbus orthopedic center will outline the importance of ergonomics for reducing the risk of chronic back pain and other issues. If you need help with treatments and effective pain management, schedule an appointment with us.

What Is Ergonomics and Why Does It Matter?

Ergonomics is the science that studies how people interact with their working environment. The final purpose of this science is creating workplaces that fit the employees, not the other way round.

Specialists identify three sources of physical stress which ergonomics can minimize or eliminate:

  • The physical force needed to perform a task
  • Inadequate static or moving postures when performing job tasks
  • The repetitive nature of a task

Together, these factors can cause work-related orthopedic conditions, which may lead to long-term chronic pain and physical limitations.

Types of Orthopedic Problems Caused by Poor Ergonomics

Sitting or standing in awkward positions, especially when performing repetitive tasks, may lead to several conditions of the bones and joints, such as:

  • Tech neck – an abnormal curvature of the upper spine due to bending over a laptop
  • Herniated disc caused by poor sitting position, putting pressure on the vertebrae in the lower spine
  • Inflammatory joint conditions, such as bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome or lateral epicondylitis

All these conditions are painful and restrict the normal range of motions. Moreover, if they are left untreated, they can lead to permanent stiffness, muscle weakness and reduced ability to use the affected body part.

How Proper Ergonomics Helps Prevent Work-Related Orthopedic Conditions

When you come for the first appointment at our Columbus orthopedic center, our doctors will ask you to describe your work activities in detail, among others. We will also ask you to demonstrate how you sit or stand at your desk and how you perform common repetitive movements.

poor posture at the desk can lead to long-term back and spine problems

This demonstration will help us understand what causes your health condition. It will also allow us to teach you how to talk to your employer about creating an ergonomic workplace for you.

Here are a few points you need to know:

1. Proper Desk Set-Up

Many office workers develop neck and shoulder pain or lower back pain because their chair is not ergonomic and the entire desk set-up is not adapted to their height. This calculator helps you get the correct measurements for the ideal desk height.

If you work on a computer, the top of the screen must be at or just below eye level.

As for the chair, it must be adjustable in several points:

  • Height of the seat from the floor – your feet should rest on the floor, with the knees bent at a 90-degree angle
  • The armrests, allowing you to keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle to avoid shoulder or wrist pain
  • Depth and tilt of the back seat – you should be able to fit two or three fingers between the edge of the seat and your knees

2. Ergonomic Placement of Workplace Accessories

Arrange the items you use most frequently in a way that makes them easy to reach. If they are not within reach, stand up to get them; do not stretch over the desk.

3. Taking Frequent Pauses and Exercises

Every few hours, take a break and stretch your core, back and neck muscles. This allows them to relax and strengthen in order to support a correct posture.

Come to Our Columbus Orthopedic Center to Correct Poor Posture!

Neck and back pain are signs that you do not have an ergonomic workplace and maintain a poor posture. This is a serious issue, which could lead to lifelong chronic pain.

At our Columbus orthopedic center, you will receive effective treatments for your pain and will learn how to create an ergonomic workplace which helps you maintain a correct posture.

Call us today to schedule your initial evaluation appointment: 770-000-0000!

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