4 Ergonomic Tips to Avoid Muscle Fatigue

4 Ergonomic Tips to Avoid Muscle Fatigue

Chronic pain affects about 50 million Americans. Sitting in meetings all day can shorten muscles and compress discs, causing aches and pain. However, there are some steps you can take to ease and/or prevent pain. Try these tips whether you’re working at home or in a workplace setting.

1. Move around, get some walking in during the day.

Muscles tighten if you sit too long, which can ultimately cause low back pain, neck aches and even headaches. Take time throughout the day to stand up, walk around, maybe even stretch a little.

2. Maintain proper posture while sitting. 

  • Sit up straight with your shoulders back.

  • Keep your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips.

  • Pull in your abdominals and grow tall.

  • Distribute weight evenly between both hips. 

  • Avoid crossing your legs.

3. Set up your workstation correctly.

  • Your monitor should be at eye level. If you would like a little help to prevent you from slouching, you can try keeping the monitor slightly (i.e., two inches) above eye level. This helps lengthen your body and ease compression off the spine. Again, it’s literally just a couple of inches. If you keep your monitor too high, your neck will be sore.

  • Your monitor should be centered in front of you, about an arm’s length away to prevent misaligning your neck to read your screen. Reduce glare by making sure the monitor isn’t in front of a window.

  • Sit with your back against the back rest. Adjust the seat to allow your legs to bend at a right angle while keeping your feet on the floor. If you cannot keep your feet flat on the floor, consider investing in an ergonomic footrest.

  • Armrests should be equal height. 

  • Keyboard and mouse should be in front of you, at about the same level as your forearms and wrists. 

  • Keep your forearms and wrists flat, with elbows relaxed.

  • Adjust the headrest so that you don’t feel as though your head is being pushed forward or downward. 

4. Practice safe telephone posture.

  • Whether you’re using a mobile phone or landline with a receiver, sit up straight and keep your head level during the call.

  • Don’t cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder. Only hold it in your hand.

Living with Aches and Pains? Maybe Your Posture is to Blame

Throughout your childhood you probably had relatives telling you to sit up straight. As a child, you probably didn’t think much of it at the time. However, now that you’re an adult, the aches and pains you feel remind you of how important good posture is.

But the problems long-term poor posture can cause often go beyond needing some Motrinâ. It can affect the curvature of the spine, cause back pain, neck pain and headaches, place stress on your joints and interfere with sleep.

You’re never too old to try improving your posture. Interested? Try the following steps.

While Standing

  • Stand tall with your feet about shoulder width a part.

  • Slightly bend your knees. 

  • Place most of your weight in the balls of your feet.

  • Keep your head level and eyes looking forward.

  • Align your ears with your shoulders and your shoulders with your hips.

  • Pull in your abdominals.

  • Let your arms hang naturally by your side.

While Sitting

  • Sit straight. Align ears over your shoulders.

  • Pull in your abdominals.

  • Adjust your chair to support your low and mid back and to

  • Keep your shoulders back.

  • Maintain knees at hip level (or just below) and a small space between the back of your knees and the front of the chair.

  • Don’t cross your legs.

  • When sitting at a desk, use a footrest if your feet don't touch the floor.

Additional Tips

  • Invest in a comfortable mattress that supports your back and a pillow that supports your head.

  • Do your best to sleep on your side or back; avoid sleeping on your back whenever possible.

  • Stay hydrated as it helps keep the elasticity in your tissues surrounding the spine and joints, and creates stronger padding in your spine, both help maintain good posture.

  • Stretch. Improving your overall flexibility can ease tight muscles and improve range of motion of joints, which can help your posture and balance. Before beginning a stretching routine, get clearance from your doctor. Always warm up before stretching with a few minutes of light aerobic exercise like walking. 

If you need help fixing your posture, talk to your primary care doctor. If they can’t help you, they can refer you to specialist such as a chiropractor or physical therapist. Don’t have a doctor, consider partnering with MDVIP. Find a physician near you and begin your partnership in health » 

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