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Tips for improving the ergonomics of your home or office workstation


The occupational therapist is the healthcare professional of choice to help you optimize your ergonomics at work. To do this, he will carry out an occupational analysis, that is to say, he will carry out an analysis of your workstation and the tasks that you must perform. Particularly when you experience pain, he will also look at all your activities in the different spheres of your life in order to help you correct problematic situations.


The advice provided here, by our occupational therapist Jonathan Bolduc, will allow you to respect the basic principles of ergonomics in order to help you minimize the risk of injury and maximize your productivity.


WHAT ARE THE BASIC ERGONOMIC PRINCIPLES TO RESPECT


For a neutral seated position in the context of computer work, i.e. a position that involves little tension on the joints, and therefore less likely to generate muscular effort:


1- Feet placed flat on the surface


This allows you to have a stable base to support the rest of the body in the posture. When the feet are not supported, the pelvis is positioned in retroversion due to the sliding of the lower limbs towards the front of the chair.


2- Knees and hips bent between 90 and 110 degrees


This reduces tension on the muscles around the knees and hips, which will result in freeing the lower back, and even the spine, the structures of the spine.


3- Arms along the body aligned with the trunk


The elbows should not be too far from the body. Make sure you have armrests that adjust in height but also in width so that your elbows are slightly wider than your shoulders.


4- Forearms resting on armrests so as to have relaxed shoulders


The upper back and neck pain that patients report is often due to the fact that the armrests are not properly adjusted. Indeed, the role of armrests is to support the entire upper limbs in order to allow the muscles that usually provide this function to relax.


5- Wrists relaxed and in a horizontal position


This allows for a balance of tension between the muscles that flex and extend the fingers and wrist.


6- Back position on your chair


It is important to respect, without exaggerating, the natural curves of the back, i.e., for example, lumbar lordosis, thoracic kyphosis and cervical lordosis. A so-called ergonomic chair offers lumbar support and follows the thoracic curvature. To maximize comfort and ergonomics, it is essential to have a chair that fits your body type.


7- Positioning of the head


The natural curvature of the neck is a lordosis. This is why it is important not to have your head completely in front of your shoulders. This would have the effect of creating a curvature opposite to the natural curvature. A simple way to avoid this is to “tuck in” your chin. Feeling like a string is pulling your head up is also an image that illustrates the correct position of the head and neck.


8- How to adjust your screen(s) for an effective and risk-free look


The top of the screen should be at eye level. This ensures that the eyes will be at an ideal height to reduce fatigue as much as possible and will also promote the adoption of a neck posture that respects the natural cervical curvature.


If you are using two screens, you should position the screen you use most often in front of you as you would for a single screen and put the other screen on the side of your dominant eye at a slight angle to the other screen. In order not to have to turn the head too much to look from one screen to another, the screens should be placed at a minimum distance of one arm's length and as close to each other as possible.



We invite you to refer to the following checklist, designed by the Elevate Ergonomics, in order to visualize the ergonomic position to adopt at your workstation:


If you work in a neutral standing position, the following two principles must be respected:


1- Feet placed flat on the surface


This will provide a solid base for maintaining proper alignment of body segments. We will choose a comfortable shoe with low heel height and a comfort sole is recommended.


2- Height of the work surface


Slightly above elbow height for computer work, below elbow height for work that requires exerting force on the work surface, and well above elbow height for precision work. These specifications on the height of the worktable will avoid strains and pains in the neck.


IN ENDING: THE IMPORTANCE OF MOVING!


Finally, it is important to emphasize that during your work day, it is important to take breaks to move. You won't waste time at work doing a few stretching or circulation-boosting exercises, taking moments to oxygenate yourself with slow, deep breaths. On the contrary, your brain will receive more blood and oxygen and you will certainly find yourself more focused and more efficient. So, do not hesitate to vary the postures and take micro-breaks to stretch your muscles.


To learn more, book an occupational therapy appointment online or call the clinic at (450) 641-4610.


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