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Prolonged sitting and improperly fitted work stations are contributing to increased neck and low back pain in the workplace. Proper posture and positioning, often referred to as ergonomics is one of the most important elements that is often overlooked by many healthcare providers. It is extremely valuable as an evaluation tool because improper posture and positioning can be a contributing factor to underlying problems and can delay recovery if not corrected.

Many individuals simply sit at a desk and begin working, unaware of how to adjust their desk chair, keyboard or monitor height to properly fit them on the job. This is where a chiropractor can be a great resource and help make suggestions based on the current work environment and any spinal complaints. This will help you to use the work environment to maximize productivity without discomfort, fatigue or resulting injury.

Common postural risk factors include shoulder shrugging, prolonged wrist positions, neck flexion and rotation, desk pressure or armrest pressure on the elbows and wrists, and unsupported feet. Another concern is changes in vision resulting from the glare and eye strain associated with working on computers for long periods of time.

According to Dr. Alan Hedge, professor of the Human Factors lab at Cornell University, “The risk of musculoskeletal discomfort increases with as little as one hour of computer use per day, and the risk of musculoskeletal injury in someone who works on a computer four or more hours per day is nine times greater than it is for a one-hour-per-day user.”

A few basic recommendations include:

1) Feet need to be supported on the floor, adjust the height of the chair to have both feet flat on the floor, and the thighs should be parallel to the floor.

2) The average desk height is 29.5 and if a person in short in stature, a foot rest may be need to accommodate the work station.

3) The Keyboard needs to be adjusted to have the wrists in a neutral position.

4) The monitor should be directly in front, directly behind the keyboard and an arm’s length away.

Making small corrections can make a big difference in wear and tear on the body. Give Natural Spine Solutions a call and schedule a consultation if you have additional questions or concerns regarding your posture or proper ergonomics at work. We are here to help you be proactive when it comes to your health.

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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene. For more information, please contact us at 208-966-4425.

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