Your workstation should be set up to cause the least amount of stress on your body. Prolonged hours of poor posture or repetitive work habits, often in a stressful environment, can result in significant overuse injury. Applying the following points can help minimise such injuries.
Some important points to note are the following:
- Sit in front of your workstation such that your monitor is directly in front of your face.
- Your arms should be at right angles from your shoulders when you type.
- Your wrists should be in line with your forearms, both horizontally and vertically.
- Your keyboard should be flat.
- The top of your monitor should be level with your eyes.
- Do not sit too close to your monitor – you should be at least an arm’s length away.
- Ensure your seat is properly adjusted.
- If your feet don’t reach the ground, use a foot rest.
- Do not reach too far for your mouse, keep it close to your keyboard and support your arm on the desk when using your mouse.
- Use a document holder attached to the side of the monitor.
- Take regular breaks every hour, stretch your legs, and perform simple mobility exercises to limber.
Spinal Activity Do’s and Don’ts
Follow these rules while being treated by your physiotherapist:
- Avoid rubbing, probing, or “poking” in the areas your physio treats.
- Avoid sudden twists or turns of movement beyond normal limits of motion, especially of the neck.
- Avoid extreme bending of your spine in any direction. Avoid stretching, reaching, or other overhead work. Be particularly careful when brushing or shampooing your hair.
- Avoid bending or stooping sharply to pick up objects. Rather, bend your knees to minimise the strain on your lower back.
- When lifting, keep your back straight, bend your knees and let your legs bear the strain. Hold the object lifted as close to your body as possible.
- Participate in simple exercises to strengthen your body, but avoid jarring activities, which place stress on your neck and spine.
- Watch your posture at all times, stand tall, sit tall, sleep tall and THINK tall.
With regards to rest, relaxation, and sleep, adhere to these simple tips:
- Set aside a special time each day for complete mental and physical relaxation. This is important in the restoration – as well as maintenance – of normal health.
- When sitting, choose a chair that has adequate firmness to hold your weight comfortably, and then sit straight. Avoid too soft, overstuffed chairs. Recliner chairs are acceptable if they are constructed so that when you are reclining your back is in a normal straight position.
- Cross your legs only at the ankles, not at the knees. Crossing your legs at the knees could aggravate an existing back condition as well as interfere with the circulation to the lower limbs.
- Be sure to get plenty of sleep to allow your body to recuperate and repair.
- Sleep on a firm mattress, preferably one which is neither too hard nor too soft, but just firm enough to hold your body level while, at the same time, soft enough so that your shoulders, buttocks, et cetera, will depress into the mattress.
- Your pillow should be neither too high nor too low. The ideal pillow is one which supports your head so that your neck vertebrae will be at level with the rest of your spine. Avoid sleeping on two pillows, never lie on a couch with your head on the arm rest.
- Sleep on your back or on your side with your legs flexed slightly, not drawn up tightly. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Raise your head off the pillow when changing positions.
- Rise from your bed by turning on your side and swinging your legs off the bed, then push yourself into a sitting position with your arms, thus minimising the amount of strain on your back.
- Do not read or watch TV in bed with your head propped at a sharp or strained angle.
If you have any questions about any phase of your health care, feel free to ask your physiotherapist.
Optimal Chair Set-up
Correct sitting posture is an essential ingredient to preventing spinal injury and fatigue.
The basic features of a good chair are:
- adjustable height
- pelvic tilt on seat
- lumbar support
To ensure you get the best of your optimal chair set-up, follow these tips:
- Adjust the height of your chair such that your knees are level or just below hip height and that your feet are flat on the floor.
- If your seat has a pelvic tilt, this should be set to a slight forward incline to promote a natural inward lower back curve.
- Move the lumbar support so that it fits snugly into the curve of your lower back. This will help prevent lumbar strain and help maintain a straight spine and neck while seated.
- Never sit with your legs crossed. Crossing at the ankles is a preferable alternative.