Dr. Geetanjali Joshi
April 8, 2010
Once I was sitting in the park. The discussion started in a ladies group sitting near to me upon various mental and musculoskeletal problems in our young generation due to continuous increasing work related stress on them. This is really a matter of concern that the young generation group which is the highest populous and income generating group in India, suffering from various conditions. These conditions not only affect a person on his/her health grounds but it also decreases the efficiency of an employee, directly affecting the overall output of the company.
So, if you are from that population who has a prolonged sitting job in addition to work on computers? If you are from that population who after going at home wishes that someone could give you a good massage at back or neck? Then I am sure this article will help you to improve your posture and ultimately your health.
‘Ergon’ means work and ‘nomoi’ means natural laws. Ergonomics is a study of working of a human in relation to work demands. If we make our body to work against the laws designed by nature then loss to our health is sure. In a broad way, work induced conditions depend on what kind of work you do and what kind of tools you use. But in this age of computers, most of the conditions coming up in work field are caused due to the repeated and improper use of computers. The issue of computer induced disorder is very important as the rate of adoption of computers in every field is increasing.
A bad posture for a prolonged period can lead to various musculoskeletal problems. Even comfortable positions require certain musculoskeletal effort to hold that position. Overuse of muscles lead to micro tears in the muscles which causes pain, inflammation and stiffness in the muscles. The inflammation and stiffness in the muscles causes compression of the nerves, which are present beneath the muscles, ultimately leads to pain, numbness and weakness. A bad posture can give you various problems. Most common is neck pain which might radiate to the hand. One might experience severe back pain due to poor sitting posture and poor lifting techniques. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common condition with people who are responsible for data entry.
As in Indian scenario, where employers are not concerned to the health of their employees, one has to take care of his/her health on his/her own ways. Just by following these certain measures, one can avoid a number of work-induced conditions:-
- The first and foremost step is to learn to take frequent breaks (short breaks) from any sustained posture in every 20-30 minutes.
- Stretch your muscles which are involved in prolonged work in every 20-30 minutes.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor; either adjusts the chair or keep a foot rest so that your knees are bent to 90-110 degrees.
- Your lower back should be fitted against the backrest of your chair. If it is not then you can use a small pillow or a rolled towel.
- Maintain your back and neck in erect position and keep your shoulder relaxed.
- Try to keep your arms as close as possible to your body and elbows should be kept 90-100 degrees bend.
- Keep the equipment near to your body, so that you do not need to bend your neck and body forward.
- Keep your wrist as neutral as possible and adjust the position of your keyboard to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Avoid any prolonged grip activities.
- While lifting, even a light object; use two hands rather than using one.
- Wherever possible, slide the object instead of lifting the object.
- While lifting an object from the ground, bend from the knees rather than bending from the back.
- To avoid eye strain, blink frequently, look away from the screen in every 5-10 minutes for a second or two and also adjust screen’s contrast and brightness.
There are some basic exercises which you can do while sitting in your office and it takes only 5-10 minutes. As it is said an apple a day, keep doctors away; in the same way 10-15 minutes spend on you in a day keep work-induced complications away. The exercises are as follows:-
- For the neck, tilt your neck upwards and hold for 10 seconds and then slowly bend down to touch your body through the chin and then come in neutral position. Bend your neck sideways to both sides so that you ear touches your shoulder. Then rotate your neck to both sides.
- For the shoulder, circle your shoulder forward as well as backward around 8-10 times.
- Do shoulder stretches, by keeping your arms behind the head and gently pull the elbow with other hand. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat it 8-10 times for both the shoulders.
- Do wrist stretches. Intermingle the fingers and palm facing outwards, just straighten your arm in front of your body. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat it 8-10 times.
- Do back stretches. Intermingle the fingers and palm facing upwards, just straighten your arm above the head. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat it 8-10 times.
- Do back arching. Stand up, keep your hands on your lower back to support it and then gently bend or arch backwards. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat it 8-10 times.
- Do feet movements. While sitting on a chair, hold your chair with hands on either side, straight your leg and lift it from the floor a bit. Rotate your foot upwards, downwards, outwards, inwards and also rotate it in clockwise and anti-clockwise direction.
It does not matter what is your job but your goal should be that you are comfortable and not prone to work induced injuries. So, employ these mini measures and enjoy happy and healthy working. And do not forget “HEALTH IS WEALTH”.