Woman sitting at desk holding her neck in pain

Improving Your Workplace Ergonomics

What Does Ergonomic Mean?

When it is broken down, ergonomics is the science of designing products for human use. The goal of ergonomic design is to increase efficiency and comfortability in the workplace. Using ergonomic products helps prevent injuries or musculoskeletal disorders and improves productivity.

What Are Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Whether you work a desk job or have a career that requires heavy manual labor, there are various conditions in which work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) can occur. A musculoskeletal disorder includes any injury to a tendon, muscle, nerve, or spinal disc. If your work environment contributes significantly to the condition or the injury persists due to work conditions, it becomes a WMSD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examples of work conditions that lead to a WMSD include routine lifting of heavy objects, overhead work, or work with the neck in a chronic flexion position. Some examples of WMSDs are:

  • Back pain
  • Sprains, strains, and muscle tears.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Hernia.

Proper Body Mechanics

Occupations that require heavy lifting or routine overhead work can place a significant amount of weight and pressure on your back and knees. You may have heard the saying, “lift with your legs.” This is because if you don’t lift with the proper form, you can be at a higher risk for injury.

To lift heavy objects, start with a wide base of support. Maintaining good posture and a straight spine, squat down, bending your hips and knees only. Then, slowly lift and straighten your hips and knees. Hold the object as close to your body as possible around your belly button to maintain your balance.

If you are subject to back pain, consider purchasing a back brace for heavy lifting. This specific type of back brace is designed to support your back when lifting heavy objects to prevent injury.

Ergonomics in the Office

If your career is mostly in an office environment or seated at a desk, you can make simple adjustments to avoid work-related injuries.

Maintaining proper posture is the key factor to preventing many injuries. This means making sure your head is level with your computer screen, your back is properly supported, and your feet are firmly planted on the ground.

Adjust your chair, keyboard, and mouse to ensure your thighs, hips, hands, and forearms are parallel to the floor. It is also helpful to keep your elbows close to your body.

Most importantly, make sure to get up and move or stretch, so you do not remain seated the entire day!

Treating Work-Related Injuries

The team of specialists at COR Medical Centers will assess your injuries before any treatment decisions are made. Once there is a plan you are comfortable with, we treat and manage your injuries with the utmost care.

To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at (800) 267-2072.