Is sitting the new smoking? Poor workplace ergonomics and too much time spent sitting could be taking just as big a toll on many American's health.
Recently, we interviewed Dr. Nick Anthony, D.C. of Anthony Chiropractic in Abilene to get some ideas to help our clients and readers understand ergonomics and take steps to improve their health. In last week’s interview, Dr. Anthony explained why good posture and ergonomics are important, problems that lack of attention to ergonomics can cause, and gave us a few ideas to help people overcome the effects of too much time spent sitting.
In this week’s Q and A, Dr. Anthony walks us through the symptoms people experience from poor ergonomics and posture, and shows us how to set up a workstation with good ergonomics to relieve symptoms.
Tolar Systems: What kinds of symptoms might people experience from poor ergonomics and poor posture?
Dr. Anthony: There’s a pretty wide range of symptoms from poor ergonomics and posture including low back pain, neck tension, headaches, numbness and tingling in the arms and hands, burning between your shoulder blades, shortness of breath, acid reflux, lower costo-chondral cartilage pains, numbness and tingling in the glutes and hamstrings, anterior shoulder pain, eye strain and fatigue.Five strong indicators that your current workspace has poor ergonomics or that your posture could be impacting your health include:
- Looking down at the monitor,
- Turning your torso in your chair to see your monitor,
- Irritation to your wrist and needing to shake and wiggle them to relieve it,
- Seat is too low / too high for your desk,
- Reaching forward for your keyboard or mouse
Tolar Systems: What should people be doing with regard to their posture or ergonomics at work?
Dr. Anthony: Two of the most important things people can do include paying attention to their posture when standing or sitting, and making sure their workstation is set up correctly according to the 90/90/90 principle. 90/90/90 refers to keeping a 90 degree angle at the hips, knees and elbows. Other considerations include:
- Screen at eye level, distance of 18 inches from your face to the screen.
- Keyboard flat, wrists relaxed and neutral.
- Shoulders down, chest open.
The following diagram illustrates how to set up a workstation with this in mind.
22584218 - 3d rendered medical illustration - correct sitting posture
Tolar Systems: What other advice would you give regarding ergonomics and posture?
Dr. Anthony: People sometimes think that posture is “no big deal”, but it truly has a great effect on your health and productivity. There have been several studies on posture and the sitting position and how “sitting is the new smoking” of this era.
My thought is that as people are becoming more sedentary and are working more at computers and mobile devices, they should always consider how they are working and do what they can to prevent an unhealthy posture or work environment. We are only granted one body here on Earth, so we must be grateful for it and care for it as best we can. Even though medical advancements have increased our longevity, there has yet to be a spinal transplant; your posture is a picture of your spinal and overall health.
We thank Dr. Anthony for his responses to our questions and great advice on how to improve our ergonomics and posture in the workplace.
Do you need help setting up a workspace that will allow you to work more comfortably and productively. Let us know in the comments; we’re happy to help!