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How to Avoid Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

How to Avoid Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Posted by UncagedErgonomics on 14th May 2016

If you work a standard office job, you are likely familiar with the pain and discomfort that can result from sitting in a chair and typing all day long. Even though this is sedentary work, poor ergonomics and limited movement lead to a range of musculoskeletal disorders. With some adjustments and equipment, though, you can work comfortably and avoid these injuries.

What Are Musculoskeletal Disorders, and How Do They Occur?

MSDs are muscle and nerve disorders caused or aggravated by repetitive movements, improper posture, and poor ergonomics. Problems include back, neck, shoulder, wrist, and elbow pain, as well as injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. With some easy adjustments to posture and the addition of the right ergonomic equipment, you can alleviate the pain and discomfort of the standard office setup.

Maintain Correct Posture

First, ensure that your chair is adjusted correctly. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle, with your feet resting flat on the floor. Armrests should be set at a height that allows your arms to hang comfortably from your shoulders, with your elbows close to your body and bent at 90 degrees. Leave about a fist’s worth of space between the edge of the seat and the backs of your legs to allow for circulation.

Your keyboard should be at a height that again allows your arms to hang loosely from your shoulders, with your elbows at 90 degrees. Wrists should be flat or sloping downward slightly. Never type with your wrists at an upward angle, a position that causes stress on your joints and will result in injury over time. Use a comfortable palm rest to reduce pressure on your palms and wrists.

Set your monitor about an arm’s length away from you, with the top of the screen at eye level. Make sure to give yourself breaks by following the 20-20-20 rule: every twenty minutes, look twenty feet away for twenty seconds to allow your eyes to rest.

Consider incorporating periodic standing into your workday

Changing positions and getting out of your chair makes a huge difference in your overall comfort, as well as your energy level. When you do stand, use an anti fatigue mat to take the pressure off your legs.

You may also want to try an active seating option like the  Wobble Stool, which allows you to rock and sway throughout the day, keeping your blood flowing and strengthening your core muscles.

Use the Right Ergonomic Equipment

If your current work set up does not allow you to follow the recommendations above, it’s a good idea to purchase the right ergonomic equipment for your needs. A keyboard tray, monitor arm, and standing desk or desktop unit will place you in a comfortable, neutral position and dramatically reduce your risk of pain, stiffness, and discomfort.

At Uncaged Ergonomics, we believe that working healthfully and comfortably is a necessity, not a luxury, and we believe it should be easy affordable. We offer keyboard trays and sit-stand desktop units at low price points, with quick installation and set up. If you find yourself struggling daily at work with pain and discomfort, please give us a call to discuss how we can help.