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Ergonomics Q & A

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What is Ergonomics?

Literally translated, ergonomics refers to the branch of science that deals with work. Ergonomics are designed to eliminate the barriers that prevent people from being safe, productive, and comfortable while they are working. This can include a wide variety of devices and special types of technology. Today, ergonomic devices are used for much more than just work, as well. Many people who have posture problems, back pain, neck pain, or other chronic problems find that it's helpful to use specialized ergonomic devices in their homes, as well.

How Can a Workstation be Improved With Ergonomics?

The computer equipment should be secure and on a stable surface, and the monitor should be situated at a comfortable distance for viewing. Generally, this means having the monitor around an arm's length away. If referring to documents while typing, keep those documents close at hand to avoid excessive swiveling of the head. The mouse and mousepad need to be around an inch or two higher than the height of the keyboard. A negative-tilt keyboard tray offers excellent wrist support and can help alleviate problems like carpal tunnel syndrome. The chair at a workstation should have a back that allows for sitting at a 100-degree angle and it should have good support for the lumbar spine. A lumbar roll is a small pillow that can be used to help maintain the proper spinal position while working.

What Else Can People do to Improve Ergonomics at Work?

Feet should be kept flat on the floor, with the hips and knees at a 90-degree angle. Hips should touch the backrest on the chair. Keep the chin level rather than bent down while working, as this helps maintain proper cervical spine position. People who spend their whole day at a workstation should make an effort to take short breaks to move around if at all possible. The chiropractic care provider can perform adjustments that will help enormously and may be able to provide additional tips for better ergonomics.