Maintaining proper posture while at work is critical to preventing neck and back pain and other repetitive motion injuries. Workplace ergonomics is the process of creating workstations that support healthy, functioning body positions while working.
Could you start by describing what the term workplace ergonomic means?
Dr. Scott Gardner: Workplace ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace. The simplest understanding is really allowing the employee to be fit while they sit.
What are some common issues people have across various industries as a result of poor workplace ergonomics?
Dr. Scott Gardner: Some of the common issues we see because of poor ergonomics are back pain, fatigue, poor posture, and I would say the most common is forward head posture. And that is really leading to neck pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain, and a lot of times even headaches.
For employers, are workplace ergonomic training programs available? And what do they entail?
Dr. Scott Gardner: Yes, we actually do them free of charge. We spend about 30 minutes showing employers and their employees how they can set up their workstation so that they can get the maximum usage out of what they’re doing every day, but also making sure that everybody is being healthy long-term.
In the absence of formal ergonomic training, what are some basic things workers can do to make sure they have a healthy working environment, and protect themselves from injuries?
Dr. Scott Gardner: The biggest thing for me, is really focusing on posture. Whether it’s when they’re standing, or when they’re sitting, and for most, the sitting posture tends to be one that causes the most problems. So really making sure that both feet are flat on the floor. When they sit, hips should be higher than the knees, shoulders should be level, hips should be level. And when looking at the monitor, we want the mid-point of the monitor to be at eye level, or slightly above. We want to really avoid looking down at the screen.
More and more people are working on mobile devices without a real desk. Can you describe what text neck is? And why people of all ages should take it seriously? Also, how can people avoid getting it?
Dr. Scott Gardner: Text neck or technology neck is really reaching an epidemic level. A couple years ago, the Mayo Clinic actually came out and gave it official terminology. So, with people spending more and more time with their head in that forward posture, it is causing the loss of the normal curve in their neck, which is leading to pain in the neck, pain in the upper back, pain in the shoulders, headaches. Learning to bring the device, whether it’s a phone or an iPad, up instead of constantly looking down, would really be a great help.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Scott Gardner visit www.gardnerfamilychiro.com or call 973-614-9256 to schedule an appointment.