Work Can Be a Pain: Creating an Ergonomic Workspace for Pain Relief
The most common cause of work absenteeism is pain. Not coincidentally, a leading source of pain among adults is chronic fatigue, tension and pain caused by a poorly planned work environment.
These days the 9-5 world involves much more computer work than ever before; some of us make our living sitting at a computer all day, every day. Sitting in one position for hours on end, using your hands and arms repetitively can cause stress injuries ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to tendonitis to nerve damage.
One of the easiest ways to prevent such injury is to make sure your workstation is set up in an ergonomically correct way. Ergonomics is literally human engineering, and refers to the applied science of equipment design intended to maximize productivity by reducing fatigue and discomfort. This is all a fancy way of saying that your workstation should be set up to fit your body and the way you work.
As laptops have become more commonplace, ergonomic issues have increased. If you’ve noticed tension and/or pain in your neck and back muscles after working for extended periods, the position of your computer and your posture are probably to blame.
You can also look into replacing your keyboard and mouse to reduce the possibility of repetitive stress injury and pain. An ergonomic keyboard puts your wrists and hands in a more natural, straight position. The same is true for your mouse: try different mice to see what works for you. You might find that a rollerball mouse is more comfortable.
This slideshow from the Mayo Clinic has illustrated tips for improving your office ergonomics including:
- Proper chair height and position
- Proper back support
- Monitor adjustment
- Telephone headsets
- Good wrist position
You can (and should) ask your HR representative for an ergonomic evaluation of your workstation. It is in their best interest to follow through and work actively to help make your station as ergonomically correct as possible. Injuries and pain caused from repetitive stress can become a worker’s compensation issue. By providing this assessment and taking steps to correct a potentially hazardous situation, the company saves money in the long run and helps you be a more effective, efficient employee.