Are you working from home lately? You are not alone. Workstation ergonomics has become a hot topic over the past 2 years due to many people shifting from working at the office to working from home. This shift has lead to a lot of people seeking care due to a new ache or pain in the neck or lower back. Most of these people know that it may be due to the new work environment, but there are a lot of people who continue to wonder what might be the cause of this new symptom. If this scenario sounds like you, read on!
What are workstation ergonomics?
Workstation ergonomics is the set-up of your work environment and how you interact with this setup. At the bare minimum things involved in the workstation include a desk, chair, computer monitors, a keyboard, and a phone. The more often forgotten things that are included in this setup are a water bottle or coffee, notebooks, pens and pencils, a cell phone, etc. All of these things can be set up in a specific way to ensure the best possible work environment for the worker.
How does an improper setup lead to pain?
Our bodies thrive with motion and different positions. Desk jobs do not allow for an adequate amount of either of these. This can lead to overloading of structures throughout the entire spine leading to undue stress and eventually causing pain and discomfort. This positioning can lead to:
- Decreased blood flow to muscles, tendons, and ligaments leading to a buildup of tissue metabolites
- Increased strain on muscles, tendons, and ligaments leading to overuse injuries
When proper ergonomics are accounted for, natural curves throughout the spine and musculature in the area are able to sustain these positions for longer without fatigue. This leads to less pain and discomfort and a better workday.