Ergonomics

Why is work still a pain in the neck?!

From what I’m hearing every day neck pain in the work place is usually due to:

Poor posture
  • Yes some things never change. Most people I see are self-confessed “chin-pokers” where they sit forward on their chairs and poke their chins forward. This seems to happen when people are either working under pressure or someone has told them that they should sit up straight. Unfortunately gravity always wins in this situation and the body caves in.
  • Then there are the people who slouch back in their chairs and end up being so far away from their keyboards that they have to stretch their arms a long way forward.
  • Both these postures and other variations such as sitting on feet will put excessive loads on the structures in the neck if help for any length of time.

 

What can you do about it?
  1. If working under pressure or stress try putting an alarm on your screen so that at least every 20-30 minutes you are getting a posture reminder and a chance to move your body
  2. Ensure the lower back support of your chair is in the small of your back, in the lumbar, and not in the bony sacral area where it will push you forward on your seat.
  3. Either lean your chair back slightly (5-10 degrees) and have your screen at about an arm’s length directly in front of you. leaning back at a slight angle will help your back muscles relax and maintain your spine in a neutral position.
  4. Lean back into your chair so that you get good spinal support. That is, avoid perching forward and leaving your back completely unsupported.
  5. Keep your elbows by your sides. This means bringing your chair very close to your desk and your keyboard, mouse, phone and anything else you regularly use to the edge of your desk so that it is within your inner reach.
  6. Keep your fingers light on the keyboard, as if you are playing the piano, and this will ease the load on your neck and shoulders. To do this your forearms must be either parallel to the floor or sloping slightly down from the elbow.
  7. Use a headset if you use a phone frequently. Again, this will ease the load on you neck and shoulders
  8. Take breaks twice an hour and during these breaks do your exercise routine, change your body posture, get up and walk around.
  9. Incidental breaks such as getting up to the printer, walking to speak to a colleague instead of sending emails and walking meetings are other good ideas.