703-465-1213

Is Work a Pain?

We’ve all been told how bad sitting all day can be – for our bodies and our brains. And we’ve all seen the rise (no pun intended) of standing desks. But as every waitress, bartender, construction worker, hairdresser and any one else who stands on their feet all day knows: standing all day doesn’t exactly feel great either. So how do we get our jobs done without wreaking havoc on our bodies? We move!
Changing positions and taking micro breaks can help keep at bay the pain of holding a certain position for too long. I always arm my patients with take-home treatment.  This is often in the form of corrective and strengthening exercises, but always in the form of education — about how you’re treating your body when you’re not in my office. One of the most effective tools is good ol’ ergonomics.

Sitting to Standing Ratio

I like a 3 to 1 ratio of sitting to standing. I suggest 90 minutes of  sitting followed by 30 minutes of standing (with micro-breaks, more on that below). Health implications of prolonged sitting in a supportive ergonomic chair are less severe than health implications from prolonged standing. Varying your posture throughout the work day has significant health benefits: the best position is often the next position.

Reclining Chairs

Sitting straight up increases stress loads at the lumbo-pelvic region. Leaning forward can increase lumbar disc pressure by 85 percent. Your chair should have a reclining mechanism that you want to keep unlocked. This allows movement and spinal nutrition. Reclining distributes the load of the body to the backrest and minimizes the axial compressive loads.

Healthy Workstation Chart

Multiple Monitor Placement

The use of multiple monitors and the amount of neck rotation needed to view is commonly overlooked as a source of upper-body tension. Optimally you want your monitor view be within 30 degrees left to right and 15 degrees from center to each side — with a maximum distance of 35 degrees from center to each side.

Micro-Breaks

I strongly recommend micro-breaks every 20 minutes to reduce postural stress loads, stimulate blood flow and muscle activation. We piggyback this with the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s “20-20-20” rule. They recommend every 20 minutes get up for 20 seconds and look 20 feet away to prevent computer vision syndrome.

Humanscale designs and manufactures ergonomic products for a more comfortable workplace. Much of their design is guided by the gurus in ergonomic physiology from Cornell University. If you have any questions regarding office ergonomics, don’t hesitate to ask.

All the best in your quest for quality longevity
Dr. Keith Schreffler, DC

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1401 N Adams Street
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-465-1213
Fax: 703-465-1211