Ergonomics Made Easy Blog

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

The Many Benefits of an Adjustable Height Desk

Thursday January 19, 2012


Medical experts are telling us that sitting is literally killing us... Sitting is killing you Via: Medical Billing And Coding 

Just in case those numbers didn't grab you, let's sum up:

  • sitting more than 6+ hours a day increases risk of death up to 40%...even if you exercise!!
  • obese people tend to sit between 2 and 3 hours more than thinner folks {obesity has doubled 20 years...the same years that internet and gaming exploded}
  • chewing gum burns more calories than sitting
  • people who sit for work have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease than those who stand for work
Essentially, what they're saying is that sitting is not only not neutral, it is quite detrimental to your health.  Additionally, matching your sitting with other forms of doing, even exercising, does not counter-act the effects of too much sitting overall.  Basically, you just need to sit less.  Ergonomic experts have been saying the same thing for years- sitting is killer on your back, neck, and shoulders, when done for too long.  They may not get quite so dramatic, but they're on the same page.

So, what's a desk worker to do?  It's one thing to be an athlete and sit less, and quite another to have a computer-based job that seems to require a lot of sitting. How do you complete your job and manage to sit less???

Enter the adjustable height desk.   I seriously love the idea of a sit or stand desk- I figure if my children have the option to sit or stand when being strolled, I should have the same option when working.    The concept is the same- you can choose when to sit or when to stand.  The work surface literally adjusts height with the flick of a wrist- you don't even have to get whiny first. As an added bonus, those who have tried this kind of desk have reported passionately about the results: ewer back problems, better team collaboration, better circulation, and since they're all alive, sustained life, too. 

Medical experts tell us that sitting is killing us.  Your back already knows this- why not try an adjustable height desk?   

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Tips for Back Pain Part 2: Ergonomic Adjustments

Tuesday December 27, 2011

Ergonomic Adjustments for Less Back Pain

Since 8 out of 10 Americans suffer from back pain and half of that 80% experience back pain repeatedly, it's important to focus on what we can do to counteract back pain.  And since most people's back pain is not the result of an injury but of every day use and misuse at work.  Thus, today let's look at some easy to implement tips for simple ergonomic adjustments anyone can make that are guaranteed to relieve back pain, from work station set-up to actual movements.

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Develop new habits, starting with posture.  Your posture is  a major contributor to back pain.  Sitting too straight or too slouchy can cause a lot of back pain.  A well-adjusted ergonomic chair could become your best friend. 

• Your monitor should be at eye level.  Most people keep their screens too low and don't even realize that bending their heads to see them hurts their necks, shoulders, and backs. An easy fix is a monitor lift so you can raise it to eye level to be able to lift your head.

• Your keyboard and your mouse should be on the same surface and close together.  Minimizing movement relieves strain and over-extension.   Many workers find that using an ergonomic mini keyboard (which leaves out the numeric key pad usually on the right) helps them keep the mouse (and therefore their arms) in tighter, which helps avoid strain from having to over-reach to get to it.

• Stand more. Sitting all day is terrible on your back.  It may seem like there's no alternative, but an adjustable height ergonomic desk allows you to sit or stand with one touch.  Thus, you can stretch out and keep working.  A bonus is that collaboration is made much easier when workers can stand and look at a screen instead of all bend over one.  

Take short breaks to stretch out your body.  Sitting all day is incredibly hard on your back.  Thus, take breaks to stand and stretch.  Be sure to stretch gently and slowly so you don't injure yourself.

Even if it’s “normal” to have back pain, experiencing it is not the way life is supposed to be. You are your best ally in caring for back pain or strain.  By monitoring symptoms and making a few life style and ergonomic adjustments, you can alleviate and even avoid many stress-related injuries, like back pain.  The main thing to remember is to take care of yourself at home, work, and play by developing new habits, such as good posture and stretch breaks.

Posted in adjustability , adjustable height desks , back pain , ergonomic chair , ergonomic keyboards , mini keyboard , neck pain , Uncategorized | Make a Comment

Tips for Back Pain Part 1: Symptoms & Causes

Thursday December 22, 2011

Unfortunately, back pain is n all-too-common occurrence.  As back pain is the 5th leading cause for seeking medial help, it's not terribly surprising that 90% of Americans have experienced back pain.  However, you may not know that half of that number suffer from multiple episodes.  Since back pain can be quite debilitating, it's important to treat it seriously and get as much relief as possible, while attempting to alleviate it altogether.  Thus, let's take a look at common symptoms, causes, and remedies for non-injury-related back pain.

What are the Common Symptoms of Back Pain?

Without sounding sarcastic, your back hurts.  It may be a sudden pain, one that even shoots down your leg, or it may be a dull ache.  You might feel it more sitting or even lying down. 

What are some of the main causes of back pain?

Most cases of back pain are not the result of injury or illness, which seems to indicate that it is the result of life style or habits. Some of the more common causes of back pain are listed below.

• Muscle strain

• Spasm

• Ligament sprain

• Joint problems

• Herniated disk (aka slipped disk)

• Unusual activities that put strain on your back

How do I manage my back pain?

Assuming you have not recently been in a car accident or sports event that physically hurt your back, think about anything that might have caused strain.  Did you reach for something in the back seat?  Did you twist funny when you stood up?  Do you sit in an uncomfortable chair at work?  Are there certain positions that cause you consistent pain?  Did you help a friend move? If you can pin point any specifics, try to avoid those problem areas as best you can.  This may mean trying different positions for siting in general, or it may mean taking a break from a new exercise routine to see if the pain diminishes.  If the pain persists, call your doctor.  It may be a hassle to schedule a visit, but your back is worth it.  Don’t take any chances.

Back pain is common and a leading reason for visiting the doctor.  Review your recent life style and changes you have made to see if they are contributing factors to your back pain.  Check back next time for some more tips on implementing new work habits.

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Shopping Ergonomically for YOU!

Tuesday December 13, 2011

What do you want for Christmas?

We spend a lot of time shopping for other people at Christmas and trying to think of the perfect gift.  In fact, last time we talked about some great ergonomic gifts for those special people in our lives.  Interestingly, they spend just as much time stressing over what to get you!!  Since they're probably not going to buy you diamonds or season tickets, why not ask for something practical that will make going back to work easier, more comfortable, and less straining on your body?  

Knowing what you want for Christmas can be hard, so I'm going to help you.  There's not much better than feeling good after a day of work.  Work-related stress and strain are way too frequently occurring for comfort (pun intended).  Much of that stress and strain could be relieved with the right ergonomic tools that will help you achieve and maintain good posture and habits.  Since wrist/hand pain and back pain are frequently cited sources of angst at work, here are some great, affordable ideas for Christmas.

  • An ergonomic keyboard.  Most hand and wrist injuries are a result of cocking wrists and other awkward typing positions.  An ergonomic keyboard is designed to keep your hands and wrists in proper placement comfortably and efficiently.
  • Add an ergonomic mouse.  Similarly, your wrist twists awkwardly to use a standard mouse and your hand can also cramp from an ill-fitting one.  An ergonomic mouse, on the other hand, keeps everything in place and also for your hand much more comfortably.
  • wrist rest.  Wrist rests are ideal for resting the palms of your hand between periods of typing, and as an added bonus, are very affordable gifts.
  • An ergonomic chair.  While a bit of an investment, being able to customize a chair to fit you exactly is fairly priceless, especially when you factor in all the back, shoulder, and neck aches and pains you can avoid.
  • Portable lumbar support.  An ergo chair can be a bit spendy; thus, a less expensive option that still supports your back is portable back support.  That way you can have the support you need wherever you are!

Just by trying a few of the right tools, you can treat yourself to more comfort and less pain!  Happy holidays and happy typing!

Posted in back pain , back support , ergonomic chair , ergonomic keyboards , ergonomic mouse , ergonomics , gifts , holidays , portability , Uncategorized , Work-Related Stress , wrist rest | Make a Comment

How Adjustable Hieght Desks Help Your Back, Your Health, & Your Productivity

Tuesday November 8, 2011

Back Pain at Work?

Does your back hurt by the end of the day?  How about after a whole week of work?  By the weekend, you may feel ready to just throw in the towel and lay down.  While constant back pain, soreness, or achiness may seem an inevitable part of having a desk job, the good news is that you're wrong!  Just because you work on a computer and from a desk does not mean that have to suffer from back pain.  In fact, most cases of back pain {other than actual injuries} are due to sitting too much at work.  Again, it may feel that there's not much you can do about too much sitting.  However, there are several ways to reduce the amount of sitting at work.

First, make sure you take breaks to stand up and stretch.  Besides normal break times, try returning phone calls on your feet, too, so you can stretch out your back and give it a break from sitting.  

Next, try an adjustable height ergonomic desk. As you know, an ergonomic desk is designed to fit your and your body comfortably and to house all your essential items within close reach for less strain.  So, an adjustable height desk is one that allows you to change the position of the work surface, and therefore your own position, by raising and lowering it as needed or desired.   

Not sure?  Check out the following benefits of these ergonomic desks:

Comfort

Sitting at a computer all day puts enormous pressure on your back and even your shoulders.  While standing up for breaks and phone calls is a good start, it's ideal if you can maintain a standing position for longer periods of time. A recent study with adjustable height desks at Cornell University reports that most people reported reduced muscle strain when they switched between sitting and standing while at work.  As an added bonus, if you suffer from pain in your neck and shoulders, the flexibility to both sit and stand at your computer can significantly decrease your muscle strain at work.

Productivity

There's a reason kids take afternoon naps.  There's something about a full morning of work and a full belly that makes one quite lethargic, and less productive, in the afternoon.   This after-lunch time is a great time to try out standing at work, which will improve circulation and increase productivity. A study at USC discovered that just standing up can increase brain function by 5% to 20%!

Health

Health experts tell us that too much sitting is linked to cancer.  Rotating between sitting and standing while at work can help provide for better overall health. Medical research has shown that, in general, standing at your job is healthier than sitting. At the University of Missouri a recent study found that standing up can also have a significant impact on weight loss and calorie burning. It may be time to try standing up for part of your work day!

Collaboration

An additional plus to an adjustable height desk is that the standing position makes co-worker collaboration more feasible.  One of the more awkward work moments is having someone bend over your see to see your screen as you work together, or you having to bend over someone else's, especially for sustained work time.  An alternative is to both stand to collaborate and enjoy the benefits of standing together.

With an adjustable height ergonomic desk, one swift move can raise your monitor, keyboard and, in some designs, even your work surface to the perfect standing height.  Standing up for part of your work day can help decrease pain in your back and shoulders and provide better comfort and increased productivity. Try upgrading to an ergonomic desk to enjoy the benefits of being able a sit or stand while working on your computer.

Posted in adjustability , adjustable height desks , back pain , Ergonomic Desks , neck pain , productivity , Uncategorized | Make a Comment