How Chiropractic Care Improves Workplace Ergonomics
Aches and pains don't have to be an unwelcome consequence of a day at work. Chiropractic care helps you protect your muscles, joints, and tissues and avoid pain and stiffness due to poor ergonomics.
What Is Ergonomics?
The term "ergonomics" refers to designs, products, and strategies that reduce strain and injuries in the workplace. If you've ever come home from a long day at work with a headache or achy back, chances are the furniture or devices you use aren't ergonomically designed.
Chairs that don't offer lumbar support can lead to back pain, while a desk that's too low can cause you to hunch your shoulders while you work, triggering neck, shoulder, and back pain. Hand or wrist pain could become a problem if you don't have enough support for your wrists when you bang out a report on your laptop or desktop computer.
With more employees than ever working at home, it's not surprising that so many people suffer from ergonomic issues. Do you work from your couch or the kitchen table? Your furniture wasn't intended to support your body while you work and could be the reason that you feel achy and exhausted at the end of the day.
What Can Be Done to Improve Ergonomics?
During your visit to the chiropractic office, your chiropractor may ask a few questions about your work habits and furniture and make a few suggestions that will improve your workplace ergonomics. Depending on your symptoms, recommendations may include:
- Changing Your Desk. Are your forearms parallel to your desk when you write or type? If not, you may be at risk for developing back or neck pain or carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a nerve that passes through the hand and arm becomes compressed. If you can't swap out your desk, raising your chair and using a footrest will help keep your arms level.
- Choosing the Right Chair. Chairs are a common a source of back, hip, and leg pain, according to Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Adjust the height of your chair if your feet aren't flat against the floor. Your chair should also support your back and offer ample cushioning and armrests.
- Taking a Look at Tech. Neck pain can be a problem if your monitor is higher than eye level. Glare from screens can cause headaches and migraines, in addition to neck and shoulder pain. Place your monitor away from light sources and using a monitor hood or shade to decrease glare.
- Using Helpful Devices. Anti-fatigue foot mats reduce pain and fatigue in your legs and spine. Wrist supports keep your wrists properly aligned, while keyboard trays position your keyboard at the optimum height.
Making adjustments to your furniture and devices, while extremely helpful, may not completely eliminate your aches and pains. Luckily, your chiropractor can help you by:
- Realigning Your Spine. Poor posture and strain may move the bony vertebrae in your back out of alignment. Misalignments, or subluxations, cause back and neck pain and fatigue. Your chiropractor realigns the vertebrae with spinal manipulation therapy. Quick, hands-on movements improve the position of the vertebrae, easing your symptoms. When your spine is correctly aligned, you're less likely to experience strains, sprains, and other injuries.
- Loosening Tight Tissues. Your muscles and tissues become painfully tight when you maintain awkward positions for too long. Unfortunately, tight tissues may pull your vertebrae out of alignment and cause subluxations. Soft tissue manipulation and mobilization therapies loosen tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments, easing pain, improving flexibility, and reducing your risk for subluxations.
- Improving Posture. It's difficult to maintain good posture when your vertebrae are misaligned and your tissues are tight. Unfortunately, poor posture only makes joint and tissue pain worse. Chiropractic care helps you improve your posture and keep your body properly balanced. Your chiropractor can also offer posture suggestions and recommend exercises that strengthen the core muscles essential for good posture.
- Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome doesn't just affect office workers. They can also be a problem if you drive a truck, use vibrating tools, or do work that requires repetitive hand motions. Your chiropractor treats carpal tunnel syndrome by using manipulation and mobilization therapies to improve the alignment of ligaments, tendons, and bones in your wrist. Other helpful therapies include massage and ultrasound.
Is your job literally a pain in the neck? Give us a call to schedule an appointment with the chiropractor.
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine: Workplace Ergonomics and Safety: Tips, Equipment, and Examples, 6/9/2023
American Chiropractic Association: Maintaining Good Posture
MedlinePlus: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome