Understanding ergonomics can help you work more comfortably and efficiently, reduce the risk of injuries, and even improve your overall health, an expert in occupational therapy said here on Friday.
Dr Shashi Oberoi, convenor of All India Occupational Therapists Association (AIOTA) Ergonomics Inspection Committee, made the remarks during an interaction at the 61st Annual National Conference of AIOTA-Kochi.
Improper use of furniture often leads to various ergonomic issues such as poor body mechanics, placing undue stress on our muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Repetitive movements, awkward postures, and prolonged exposure to these conditions can contribute to soft tissue disorders. These disorders include everything from sprains of the muscles to long-term problems with the spine and the musculo-skeletal system.
“Simple changes can make a big difference, like changing the height of the desk and chair, moving the computer monitor, and utilising a chair that is more comfortable. Performing basic stretches and exercises, keeping hands and legs in the right postures throughout activities to lessen strain, and taking pauses from repetitive chores to relax and stretch are further solutions,” Dr Oberoi said.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the scientific study of designing and arranging objects, equipment, systems, and processes in a way that optimises the interaction between humans and their work environment. Ergonomics takes into account the physical, cognitive, and emotional needs and limitations of individuals in order to create places and products that are safe to use, as well as comfortable, efficient, and productive.
Poor ergonomics result in ergonomic injuries, and these can occur in various settings, including the workplace, home, and during leisure activities.
Common ergonomic injuries:
» Carpal tunnel syndrome, which can result from repetitive motions such as typing on a keyboard or using a mouse
» Eye strain or headaches, which can result from improper lighting or glare on computer screens or other devices. Extended periods of staring at digital screens without breaks can strain the eye muscles.
» Back pain or strains, which can result from improper lifting or sustained and poor sitting posture
» Neck pain or strains, which can result from prolonged periods of looking down at a computer screen or mobile device. This condition is becoming more prevalent due to the increased and committed use of smartphones, tablets, and computers in modern daily life.
» Tendinitis or bursitis inflammatory conditions which can result from repetitive movements such as lifting or reaching overhead