Computers and devices take up more time in our work and home life – especially in the Bay Area. Educating yourself on best ergonomic practices saves you pain and treatment expenses down the line. And, many of the best ergonomic investments result from behavioral, not financial investments. Here are our top pain and cost-saving ergonomic tips.
Take a Walk
Forget the treadmill-desk trend of a few years ago. The most effective motion completely changes your body’s positioning. Stop for five minutes every hour of desk work, stand up and walk around. Grab a glass of water and give your body an extra benefit from the break. Ideally, you should only be sitting when typing, reading something on the monitor or writing. Get up to answer the phone, read a document, or talk to coworkers.
File That Under a Great Ergonomic Idea
A stand elevating your computer monitor might improve your office esthetics but hurt your budget. The upper half of your monitor should align at eye level. Most monitors fail to clear this elevation naturally, so grab a stack of file folders or reams of paper. Slip them under your monitor until you reach the correct height. Who uses paper files these days anyway?
A Not-So-Better Mousetrap
While electronics stores and websites are full of gel-filled elevated mousepads, these can actually cause more harm than benefit. Your palms should rest on the padded area but most people tend to rest their wrists there, leaving it at a harsh angle. Skip the accessory. If possible, adjust your chair so that the wrist and elbow are at the same height when the elbows are at your side. You’re much less likely to keep your wrist kinked against the hard desk, thus preventing damage and unnecessary wrist extension. Using the mouse with your non-dominant hand not only give your brain a workout, but allows your dominant hand a break from the repetitive motion.
The Gloves Are Off!
Those worried about carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive hand strain may feel the purchase of a wrist support glove is in your best interest. Unfortunately, those supports exasperate the problem, not diminish it. When typing with a splint, most people are inclined to fight or resist against the unnatural pressure while typing. This may lead to new or additional injuries of the hand, as well as those that can extend to the elbows, shoulders and neck. Save the money on the gloves and adjust your keyboard so that it’s flat. Never use the keyboard stands that raise the top of the keyboards, as they cause unnatural wrist angles.
Keep the Exercise Equipment in the Gym
Stability balls serve a great purpose of strengthening and maintaining muscle tone. However, you don’t pull eight-hour gym shifts for a reason. Prolonged periods without rest on this equipment cause severe compression on the invertebral discs. Losing your balance and crashing onto the floor opens even more issues! Skip the ball purchase and find a chair height that allows your feet to touch the floor. Another key? Keep knees the distance of three fingers from the edge of the chair.
Buying into the latest fads of ergonomic workspaces costs American a small fortune every year. Unfortunately, the products may also result in an additional damage to your body. Financial District Chiropractic offers ergonomic guidance for each patient, as well as individual and group assessments training. Learn more about these services here.