Aaron H Allen from Boston, US had received a patent granted for his product “Improvement of Self-Adjusting Opera Seat” on 5th December, 1854. The seat goes upright when you get up. These seats are now common in cinema halls and theatres. Why is your chair so important? Levine, a professor of medicine at the US-based Mayo Clinic says, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting”. Big cities are now measured with a parameter of the presence of IT companies. More IT companies mean longer hours of sitting work. But, people do not realise that their office chairs could be one of the killing factors as per Levin’s theory.
You ignore the facts such as how you sit, how you type on the keyboard, what should be your eye level in front of the monitor of a system, etc. But all these play important roles in your health condition in the long run. Such ignorance may lead to ergonomic injuries.
What is ergonomic
Ergonomic is an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely. Ergonomic injuries are also called Repetitive Stress Injuries, Repetitive Motion Injuries, Musculoskeletal Disorders, Cumulative Trauma Disorders or Cumulative Trauma Injuries. To avoid such injuries, ergonomic office chairs should adhere to such designs.
Common ergonomic injuries
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is a painful condition of the hand and fingers, which is caused by compression of a major nerve at the front of the wrist. This may be caused by continual repetitive movements or by fluid retention. For example, typing for long hours while sitting on office chairs with incorrect height.
Tendonitis: This occurs due to tendon injuries that involve larger-scale acute injuries accompanied by inflammation. One may experience joint stiffness, especially in shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist and heel.
Low back pain: Almost everyone experiences this at some point in their lives. Reasons are not limited to sitting at the desk all day without taking intervals, sitting posture, lifting and pulling.
To name a few, awkward sitting postures, contact pressure, resting position of elbows, height of your office chair w.r.t. the desk and distance between your eyes and computer screen are common causes.
Common signs and symptoms of ergonomic injuries include swelling, numbness, loss of function, aching, stiffness, pain and burning.
Desiderius Erasmus said, “Prevention is better than cure”. To list out few preventive measures so that you enjoy your work:
Use ergonomic furniture in office: Office chair should support lower back. Armrests should be proper.
Take a 30-second break every hour: Do stretching exercises, which can be done while at your desk, or just look away from your computer.
Level up your office chair: Adjust your seat as per the height of the desk so that your elbows rest at an appropriate angle (90 degree). Your knees and thighs should have enough room.
Avoid typing while on a call: You tend to save time while talking, but in a most inappropriate manner. Most common, you cling to the phone receiver or mobile and continue typing!
Some of the IT companies follow stringent rules to avoid any work hazard related injuries. They conduct sessions, have posters across the working areas and other means of awareness programmes. Those who do not, their employees take more leaves, and hence their efficiency decreases.
Follow the tips and enjoy working!