According to Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo-Clinic Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and the man that first coined the term “Sitting is the new Smoking,” being inactive for prolonged periods has serious adverse effects on our bodies that can drastically reduce our life spans. With more than 80% of the workforce in jobs that require very-little-to-no activity, it’s more important than ever to make sure that we are as supported as possible by making simple, ergonomic changes to our workstations and postures. How can a little ergonomic effort result in more physical ease and in finding elbow and shoulder pain relief?
Raise Your Gaze
Correct placement of your computer monitor is such a commonly misunderstood variable to ergonomics that OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has created guidelines to assist in determining the most beneficial location. Many of us spend the day gazing downward toward screens that are placed too low, or upward at screens that are higher than necessary, which leads to neck or back strain because of the positioning of the spine that is not neutral. Ideally, your monitor will be an arm’s length in front of you and at neutral eye height.
Support Your Shoulders
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013, 33% of all worker or injury cases were caused by MSD’s, or Musculoskeletal Disorders caused by poorly supported work postures. MSDs include conditions like carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and others that directly cause elbow or shoulder pain. To work more ergonomically, position the keyboard low enough that the wrists can be slightly lower than the elbows, and that the elbows are aligned directly below the shoulders. Keyboards positioned too high will require constant engagement of the muscles across the upper back and around the shoulders to support lifting the arms to the keyboard, causing fatigue and strain.
Bolster Your Back
It’s not uncommon for employees to spend many hours seated, so it’s especially important to invest in a chair and workstation that is supportive of the spine, but also to bring awareness to posture and fatigue. A chair designed with adjustable lumbar support with help protect the low back and prevent the upper back slouching that can contribute to neck and shoulder pain, and adjustable armrests that move both up/down and forward/back will help reduce some of the strain in the neck and shoulders caused by fatigued muscles. Making sure to take regular breaks can also help eliminate some of the stress on the body caused by muscle fatigue.
Need Professional Assistance for Better Alignment?
The chiropractic and physical therapy professionals at Synergy Health are able to design an individualized treatment plan to help with your shoulder and elbow pain in Naples. Our multi-disciplinary approach to your care will provide you with the fast and lasting results you’re looking for on your path to healing and wellness. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!