How you can start introducing Ergonomics at home and in the office today
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an injury caused by repetitive tasks or staying in an awkward and unnatural position for long periods of time. If you’ve ever known someone with carpal tunnel syndrome, and 1 in 20 Americans will get it at some point, that is a type of RSI. Repetitive strain injuries in general affect 68% of UK workers according to a 2008 study.
So what can you do to treat it or prevent it from happening? At the moment there are few forms of alternative medicine to cure acute RSI, but there is evidence that acupuncture and other forms of natural medicine can alleviate the symptoms. But the best way to avoid getting one of these debilitating injuries is through prevention. If you can make your home or office more ergonomic, you can greatly reduce your chance of suffering from an RSI.
According to the International Ergonomics Association, ergonomics is “scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.” In layman’s terms it’s the study and design of improving the efficiency of working environments. For our purposes it means making you work more comfortably and efficiently in your home or at work to reduce physical stress and strain on your body.
If you’re reading this at home on a desktop computer or laptop, you are probably putting undue stress on your joints, even if you don’t feel any discomfort. Over time this can cause serious injuries. The simplest way to introduce ergonomics into your home and office right this moment is by adjusting your seat and desk to put the least amount of strain on your body as possible.
First, try to keep your back straight and sit with your feet flat on the floor with your leg forming a 90 degree angle from your chair to the floor. You may need to adjust your chair or use a cushion to help you achieve this. At the same time, you ideally need your arms to do the same thing – bent at a 90 degree angle as you type on your keyboard. Having a cushion under your wrists as you type will also relieve some pressure and strain on your wrists and hands. Now, if you have your back straight and your monitor isn’t level with your head, that will cause you to keep your neck in an awkward position as you’re reading this. Try to get your monitor as level to your head as possible so you don’t strain your neck. If you’re spending long periods of time on your laptop, try to raise your laptop on some books or a small table while you use a separate keyboard to type on.
Another thing you should do if you plan to spend hours in front of a computer is take short breaks regularly to stretch and do light exercise. Just doing a few simple things can greatly reduce the stress and strain on your body and save you from a lot of pain and doctor’s visits in the future