What can cause carpel tunnel syndrome, backaches, headaches, knee injury, eyestrain, and shoulder pain among many other aches and pains? Sounds like it must be something pretty serous to cause so many problems. Well it is, and it’s a workstation that does not work for you. It’s the chair that’s too tall and the computer that sends a glare back at you. The world of ergonomics is huge, covering every thing from lighting to the distance to the nearest bathroom, but for now we’ll just cover a workstation at a desk.
First we’ll cover the chair, your throne of which you conduct your business. An ideal seat should swivel 360 degrees to avoid any twisting. Armrests, which are properly adjusted, are great for relieving weight from your spine. If the seat is too deep your lower back won’t be supported by the backrest. This can cause poor posture and low back pain. (This is common for those of us shorter folks)
Your hips and knees should both form right angles. If your feet dangle in the air while sitting, your putting pressure on your low back. Contoured seats, while they look pretty fancy, actually limit the number of seated positions possible. Among other problems this can lower your energy level.
Your keyboard should be right around elbow height. Bending your wrist while typing can cause carpel tunnel syndrome. A simple foam palm rest will keep the wrist in a proper natural position. Your computer should just below eye level to keep your neck happy and a screen clipped on the monitor can get rid of some of that glare.
So should you inform your boss you’re not going to lift a finger until your new workstation arrives? I definitely wouldn’t. Look around and see what you can adjust. Try to move things around to make them work for you. If your feet don’t hit the ground and your chair won’t adjust try a phone book under your feet. Ask your boss to work with you on the problem. Most American’s will drive themselves to work if they’re not on their deathbed.
So most people will be at work with a headache or wrist pain, they just won’t get as much done and chances are will be pretty cranky. So most bosses will be more than happy to help. As for picking out your own chair at home, the perfect one is one that is adjustable. One which you can adjust the height, armrest, and the lumbar support is best.
A workstation that is built around the person using it just makes since. When we spend our time in unsuitable conditions, we adapt to those conditions and the body takes the abuse.