Okay, so “killing” might be a bit of a stretch. But if I’d told you that today we were going to discuss ergonomics, you’d have probably clicked away and missed some pretty important information. If you’re like me and you spend a lot of time sitting at desk or working on a computer, you might have days where you feel like you’re aging well ahead of schedule.
Those aches and pains at the end of the day typically come from two things: poorly designed office furniture and equipment, and the fact that you’re sitting in one position for far too long. Whether your home office needs to be revamped or your need to shape up your work routine, there are some tell-tale signs that something’s got to give.
7 Common Symptoms of Poor Ergonomics
- Eye strain and irritated eyes. Staring at a monitor all day can put additional strain on your eyes and lead to dry, irritated eyes. Poor lighting can have a significant impact on eye health too.
- Blurred vision and headaches. Eye strain and irritation can be accompanied by blurred vision and headaches as a result of poor office ergonomics.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Signs that your office setup could be leading to carpal tunnel include pain and swelling in the wrists and hands accompanied by numbness or tingling sensations.
- Tension in the neck and shoulders. Tight muscles aren’t just uncomfortable, they can force you to sit in contorted positions that actually exacerbate problems and lead to new ones.
- Back pain. From your neck to your lower back, improper posture and inadequate support from your office chair can lead to back pain even when you’re not in the office.
- Reduced productivity. If you notice that your days are becoming less and less productive, poor ergonomics could be the culprit because pain and feelings of discomfort can be a huge distraction.
- Prolonged fatigue. If you’re feeling tired all time, poor ergonomics could be playing a part. Sitting in a chair all day is decidedly not an energy booster.
What’s the Prescription?
While nothing can ever replace a real-life consultation with a healthcare professional, there are some excellent expert resources available online to help you combat poor ergonomics. Sometimes the fix can be as simple as raising your monitor a couple of inches or standing up and stretching every hour. Check out these resources for more information:
- OSHA’s tips for better ergonomics at computer workstations section is a great place to start. They cover good posture and offer help on equipment selection for monitors, keyboards and more.
- SpineHealth.com’s 10 Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics offers some simple suggestions for improving the way you work.
- The Checklist for Good Posture from the folks at Office Fitness can help you sort out the dos and don’ts of proper office posture.
Do you sit at a desk all day? What are your tricks for combating injury, stiffness and fatigue?