Avoid on the Job Muscle Aches and Pains with These Ergonomic Tips

You may already be aware that the way you sit or stand while at work can affect the way your muscles and joints feel hours or even days later.  Factors such as the height of your chair or the way you lift a box can have physical consequences, too. Even the way you carry a backpack or sit at your desk can impact the strength and resiliency of your musculoskeletal system.

Ergonomics and You

Evaluating just how your body is affected by your work environment is part of what ergonomic professionals do. An ergonomist can not only identify furniture or other items in your environment that are bad for your body, but also motions and tasks that may eventually cause you pain. By taking a few pointers from these professionals, you can learn to identify ergonomic risks in your work environment and reduce the chances of suffering from work related aches and pains.

What is the musculoskeletal system?

Just as the name implies, your musculoskeletal system is made up of your body’s muscles and bones. But there’s more to it than that. Your joints, connective tissue, nerves and even your blood vessels are also part of your musculoskeletal system. Each part of your musculoskeletal system must work smoothly with the others for you to enjoy pain free mobility. When any of these body parts are overused, cramped, pinched, or bruised by an activity or position, the results can be painful.

What are some on the job ergonomic risks factors?

Having proper equipment is important to ensuring your body’s health. Understanding ergonomics can help you choose the items that are right for you. If you work in an office, you should be able to sit at your desk comfortably.

Keep tools within reachYour keyboard and other equipment should be placed within easy reach. If you work in an industrial setting, these same rules apply. Tools, levers, and seating should be properly positioned so that you don’t have to frequently bend or stretch to reach them.

Most importantly, you should be able to use whatever equipment necessary for you job without assuming what is called an awkward posture. Awkward postures can cause nerves to be pinched and joints strained.

One of the leading causes of on the job musculoskeletal injuries are repetitive motions. It is very common for most of us to engage in the same activities over and over again, particularly at work.

Repetitive motion typingSomeone who uses a keyboard or power tool for several hours a day may find their wrist begins to hurt and their fingers tingle from carpel tunnel syndrome. A job that requires you to use your full arm to reach or twist tools or equipment may trigger a rotator cuff injury. Once a strain or stress injury occurs, repeated motions can make the condition worse.

 

How can you protect yourself from injury?

Of course, you may not be able to avoid all the risks of a poorly designed workspace or job without your employer’s participation, but there are some steps you can take to be proactive about injury prevention. First, evaluate your work space. Make adjustments so that the items you use most often are within easy reach. Also, check your body positioning as you work. Are you twisting or tightly bending your elbows? Over time, these positions can wear on your joints. Finally, choose a chair that allows you to

Awkward postureAlso, check your body positioning as you work. Are you twisting or tightly bending your elbows? Over time, these positions can wear on your joints. Finally, choose a chair that allows you to sit at a comfortable height in relation to your desk or work area. If you must stand at your job, install a shock-absorbing floor mat if possible.

Next, analyze the movement requirements of your job. To keep your body in top shape, try to avoid repeating the same motion or holding the same static position for extended periods of time.

If your job does require lots of repetition, take frequent micro-breaks. Use these breaks to reposition your body and stretch your muscles.

Of course, these are just a few of the ways that you can protect your musculoskeletal health. You can find more information and resources at the Government of Canada’s public website.

 

Loosen Up Your Sore Muscles with a Massage

If your muscles are feeling tight or you feeling worn down after a long day at work, come see us! Our foot reflexology massage includes a relaxing foot bath and shoulder rub that can take the tired right out of you. Not sure if you can get an appointment? You can check our schedule online or just walk-in and ask. We can usually find a seat for you and we’ll serve you some tea while you wait.

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