Workplace Ergonomics: How to Avoid Back and Shoulder Pain

Picture this: It’s the start of a new year and you’re at work- Are you sitting right? Or are you currently slouched over, reading at your desk? Do you know, with just minor changes in your postures, sitting positions and work station,  your body (and mind) will thank you in the long term!

Workplace Ergonomics: How to Avoid Back and Shoulder Pain

What is workplace ergonomics?

Workplace ergonomics is the study of how to design and arrange workspaces to reduce discomfort and injury while increasing comfort levels and productivity. In today’s setting (Post-Covid era), your workplace could be in an actual office, or a little corner in your home. 

Proper workplace ergonomics ensure the body is in a neutral position while working. This means that the body is in a position where the joints are aligned, the muscles are not being overworked and the weight distribution of the body is even. When the body is in a neutral position, the risk of injury caused by repetitive motions and prolonged periods of sitting or standing in an awkward position is greatly reduced. 

This is especially important for people who spend most of their day sitting at a desk, as this can lead to several health problems, including headache, chronic back pain and shoulder pain that could potentially lead to bigger issues like back injury and herniated lumbar disc, amongst others.

blog pic 1
blog pic 2

The right occupational ergonomics can also help to reduce muscle strain and fatigue. When the body is in a neutral position, the muscles are not working as hard, which means that they do not get as tired. This can lead to increased energy and productivity, which is especially important for people who spend most of their day working at a computer. In addition, when the body is in a neutral position, the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and other repetitive motion injuries is greatly reduced.

Another important aspect of workplace ergonomics is the use of proper equipment. Simple changes like adjusting the chair’s height, positioning computer monitors at eye level, and using a mouse pad with wrist support helps. When the body is neutral, and equipment is properly adjusted,  the risk of injuries is reduced and productivity is increased.

How do incorrect working positions affect your shoulder and back pain?

Shoulder pain can be caused by a number of factors, including poor posture, repetitive motions, and prolonged sitting. When the shoulders are held in a forward position for prolonged periods, the muscles in the upper back and neck can become tight, leading to pain and discomfort.  Back pain is another common issue that can arise from poor ergonomics. Sitting for prolonged periods can cause the muscles in the lower back to become tight and fatigued, leading to soreness and discomfort. Sitting in an incorrect position for a prolonged period of time will also cause the core muscles to weaken.

How to cultivate proper workplace ergonomics?

To prevent shoulder pain, it is important to maintain good posture, take frequent breaks to stretch and move around, and avoid prolonged sitting as much as possible. To prevent back pain, it’s important to sit with good posture, take frequent breaks to stand and move around, and use a chair with proper lumbar support.

It is also advisable to adjust the height of your chair so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees with your feet on the floor or a foot rest (feel free to DIY with a box!) and keep your elbows as close to the body as possible so as to reduce rounding of your shoulder and forward head posture. If applicable, adjust your monitor so that the top half of your screen is at the level of your eyes and use a mouse pad with wrist support. Learn how-to here.

What happens if you have prolonged soreness, pain and/or discomforts from improper workplace ergonomics?

Chiropractic care can be an effective way to address pain and discomfort caused by poor ergonomics. Chiropractors are healthcare professionals who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, including pain in the neck, shoulders and back. They use a variety of techniques, including manual adjustments, to help reduce pain and improve mobility.

If you’re experiencing pain in your neck, shoulders or back, it’s important to address the underlying cause. This may include making changes to your working area to improve ergonomics, as well as seeking professional help from a chiropractor. With the right combination of ergonomic adjustments and chiropractic care, you can reduce pain and improve your overall comfort, well-being and productivity in the workplace.

Currently experiencing such pain and discomfort? Contact us here to book an appointment~

× Make an appointment