Ergonomics Made Easy Blog

Resources and solutions for people in pain that could use help with ergonomic products. Ping blog

Staying Fit While Pregnant

Thursday May 26, 2011

I've posted before about sustaining productivity while pregnant with regard to work.  Today, I thought I'd bring it home a little more with working out safely and ergonomically, which always go hand in hand.  Working out can be challenging while pregnant- trying to stay in shape, while protecting yourself and the baby, of course, is a work out in and of itself.  I know- I'm on my third pregnancy and am just on the other side of morning sickness {knock on wood}.  I am just now ending a 2 or 3-month hiatus from exercise and trying to work out again because I was told in the labor room that being in shape really helped me deliver quickly and easily.  I plan on doing it again!

On the flip side, trying to work out and actually accomplishing it {safely} with 2 little ones also at home is challenging!  I will say that working out from home is my cheapest, quickest option because I don't have to pay for a gym membership or child care, and there's no travel time.  That said, I have 2 choices- we purchased an inexpensive used elliptical machine and I also got Gillian Michaels' Shred DVD.

Tips for Exercising Ergonomically While Pregnant

As for actually exercising, the most important thing to remember is that you're pregnant!!  You simply can't work out to the degree that you were when you were in peak shape.  The goal now is to keep a routine, stay healthy, keep flexibility, and not push it too hard.  

Avoiding injury is essential- thus, never skip warm-ups or cool-downs.  As with office ergonomics, never strain your neck, back, shoudlers, hands, or wrists- warming up and cooling down will help, as will fewer high impact routines.  Give your growing, changing body a chance at health with a good warm up and cool down.

Finally, modify the moves!  You may need to slow down or choose a lower impact version.  I know the Shred offers a modified version, which I take advantage of and apply to other exercises I try.  I also eliminated the hardest, highest impact level because it was too bouncy for my body for many, many reasons {fellow moms will understand}.

You can still exercise while pregnant, but it's important to apply the same ergonomic principles as when you're at work, such as avoiding strain and injury.

Posted in children , exercise , pregnancy | Make a Comment

Finding Relief from Back Pain at Work

Wednesday May 25, 2011

Many people experience aches and pain in their back from long hours sitting at desk. Besides injury, poor posture is one of the most common causes of pain in the work place. Try these tips to help relieve back pain and to prevent future soreness.

  • Stand up. Even if only for a few minutes, standing up will stretch your muscles and relieve the muscles used while sitting. Try standing while returning phone calls. Or try an adjustable height ergonomic desk that allows you to sit or stand while working on your computer. Standing about 20% of a work day has been found to reduce back strain.
  • Apply heat or ice. If your back muscles are inflamed, ice packs will numb the pain and reduce any swelling. Heat will relax tense muscles and increase blood flow to the area. Either treatment can be used about once an hour for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Evaluate your chair. Your chair is the more effective tool you have for good posture. Ergonomic chairs are designed to support your body and help you maintain good posture all day long. Does your current chair fit you properly? Sit down and think about each part of your chair – the back rest, the seat pan, and the arm rests. Each part should fit comfortably, provide good muscle support and not cause pressure points. For better lumbar support, try adding portable lumbar support. Adjust the height so that your feet rest flatly on the floor. If your chair is too narrow, or if the seat catches you behind the knees, you would significantly benefit from a well-fitting ergonomic chair.
  • Move your keyboard. An adjustable keyboard tray easily allows you to adjust the height of your keyboard. For best back and arm support, your keyboard should rest an inch or two above your lap, just lower than your elbows. A negative slant away from your body will help you relax your shoulders and back, relieving tension and pressure.

If you feel pain or discomfort in your back, evaluate your posture and your work space. A well-adjusted ergonomic chair can help you maintain good posture throughout the day. An adjustable height ergonomic desk can allow you to rotate your position between sitting and standing while still being productive at your computer. Correcting your posture now can keep you for more serious pain or injury in the future.

 

Posted in back pain , back support , ergonomic chair , Ergonomic Desks , keyboard tray | Make a Comment

How to Choose an Ergonomic Chair

Tuesday May 24, 2011

So many of us have to sit from 9-5 every day, and our bodies bear the brunt of that sustained position.  Usually, it's our backs and necks that end up worn out by the end of the day.  That's why it's essential that you have a fully adjustable ergonomic chair to provide support for your entire body because it's not just your backside that needs good support.  An improperly supported back can lead to serious injury.  And an often-overlooked part of a chair is the arm rest.  Many people don't know that they should adjust their arm rests- it's important to keep your arms and elbows at a 90 degree angle so that you can best access your keyboard and mouse and not add to your discomfort with hand and wrist strain as well.  However, it's important to not use the rests for extended periods.  That said, check out the tips below for choosing a great ergonomic chair!

What to look for in an ergonomic chair

  • The actual seat of the chair, also known as the seat pan, should provide plenty of room for your hips to sit comfortably, plus a few inches to spare on each side.  Just like jeans, a little wiggle room is a good thing. 
  • Your weight should be spread evenly across the seat pan and you should still feel comfortable after an hour of sitting.
  • The seat shouldn't be too deep for your upper legs.  It also shouldn't catch you behind the knees. 
  • The height of the chair should be adjustable.  Better yet is the ability to adjust your chair while you're sitting in it to get the best position.
  • While sitting, both your feet should be able to rest comfortably on the floor.
  • A good work chair should also come with good back support that supports the lower part of your back.  It's ideal if the back support is adjustable, but that's just an added bonus.
  • Another nice feature is for it to fully recline for different positions.
  • As for arm rests, it's important that they support your arms to keep from straining your wrists.  So, the more the arm rests adjust, the better off your wrists will be.  When you adjust them, they should be low enough to keep your arms at your sides and in a relaxed position.
  • Be forewarned that you should not permanently rest on the arm rests during the work day because constant use puts pressure on the nerves in your elbow, which will be uncomfortable.  So, use them as rests for breaks during typing and mousing.

Here's for sitting in comfort and style with an adjustable ergonomic chair.

Posted in adjustability , back pain , ergonomic chair , Uncategorized | Make a Comment

Ergonomic Tools Can Reduce Wrist and Hand Pain

Friday May 20, 2011

Do you experience pain or numbness in your wrist, hands or forearms after a long day at your computer? Here are some tips to provide immediately pain relief and to prevent further injury.

Immediate Relief from Pain

  • Wrist splintApply cold compresses or ice. Cold packs can reduce the inflammation and pain in the wrists and hands. Remember not to apply ice directly to the skin and only use it for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Try over the counter medication. Some anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen quickly relieve pain, but talk to your doctor or pharmacist before adding taking any new medicine.
  • Use a wrist splint. A good wrist splint will keeps your hand and wrist straight and flat, not bent or held back. Most people benefit greatest from using a splint at night when they to flex their wrists without realizing it. Check out this article about how and when to wear a wrist splint.

Using Ergonomic Tools to Reduce and Prevent Pain

  • Maintain good your hand and wrist posture.  There are a few great tips that can help protect your hands and wrists. First, let your hands lightly hover over the keyboard while typing. Secondly, relax hands and finger in a slightly curved posture. Thirdly, keep your wrists level, never flexed or bent upward, and keep your hands, wrists and arms straight.
  • Use your wrist rest properly. Never place pressure directly on your wrist as this will agitate the carpal tunnel area. Use the ball of your hand on your wrist rest to support your hands. And don’t try to rest your hands or wrists while you are actively typing. Learn how to benefit from a wrist rest while avoiding the drawbacks.
  • Upgrade to an ergonomic keyboard that is designed to encourage good hand and wrist posture. Choose one that feels comfortable and fits your hands. The classic split keyboard is gently curved to support the shape of your hands and wrists. The new mini keyboards are compactly designed with the keys closer together, eliminating the reach and strain often experienced with standard keyboards.
  • Adjust your keyboard placement to encourage relaxed posture in your wrists and hands. Your keyboard should sit about an inch or two above your lap with your forearms parallel to your thighs, and the keys should slope away from your body at a slight angle. An ergonomic keyboard tray can make this angle and placement fast and easy. 

Don’t ignore pain in your wrists! Try a good wrist splint to provide protection and time for the muscles to heal. And upgrade to ergonomic keyboard to restore better posture in your hands and wrists. These simple changes can help prevent your current discomfort from becoming a serious injury.

Posted in carpal tunnel syndrome , ergonomic keyboards , forearm pain , hand pain , keyboard tray , mini keyboard , split keyboard , wrist pain , wrist rest , wrist splint | Make a Comment

Ergonomic Keyboards Help Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Wednesday May 18, 2011

If you spend most of your day typing at a computer, chances are you have experience soreness or numbness in your hands and wrists after a long week. You may be agitating the sensitive carpal tunnel area in your wrist, which can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Here are a few tips to improving your keyboarding health and preventing future injury.

  • Reposition your keyboard and mouse. Your keyboard should be slightly lower than height of your elbows, about an inch or two above your lap. Using a slight negative tilt away from your body will make it easier to keep your hands and wrists relaxed. Try using a fully articulated, keyboard tray to allow for easy, fast adjustment of your keyboard’s position and angle.
  • Check your hand and wrist posture. It is so easy to forget or overlook the rules for healthy typing, but they are not only to make typing faster, but also to protect you from injury. First, relax your hands and fingers. Let your hands lightly hover over the keys and use a light touch when typing. Next, always keep your hands and wrists straight while typing, forming straight line from your elbow, through your wrists and down your middle finger.  Lastly, keep your wrists level with your hands and arms; never flex them, or bend them upward.  If you are experiencing discomfort, a wrist splint can help support good wrist posture.
  • Upgrade your keyboard. Ergonomic keyboards are specifically designed to help you maintain good hand and wrist posture. There are several different styles and sizes; try them out before deciding which would benefit you the most. The split keyboard is gently curved to follow and support the natural shape of your hands and wrists. The compact design of the mini keyboard pulls the keys are closer together, eliminating the straining that sometimes occurs when reaching for a key.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a serious injury that can affect your daily life. Changing you habits and equipment can help. Install a flexible keyboard tray to quickly optimize the position and angle of your keyboard and mouse.  Also, upgrade to an ergonomic keyboard to provide better support for your hands and wrists. Take the time to change your habits and protect yourself from injury and pain.

Posted in carpal tunnel syndrome , ergonomic keyboards , forearm pain , hand pain , keyboard tray , mini keyboard , repetitive strain injury (RSI) , split keyboard , wrist pain , wrist splint | Make a Comment