Tag Archives: ergonomic

Live Well, Give Well: The Gift Of A Better Work Life

Show your loved ones how much you care by helping them improve their work life with ergonomic office products.  Movement and proper support in the office leads to increased energy levels throughout the day, better productivity, greater flexibility, and reduced muscle tension and strain. Whether you wrap up a few ergonomic workstation accessories or update your loved ones desk setup with a Stand Up Desk, everyone on your list is sure to enjoy and benefit from these great products.

Give the gift of comfort and productivity with some of our favorite ergonomic office products:

  • Ultimate Executive Chair: Give ergonomic support and comfort all year long. Customize your loved one’s chair to match their personality for the perfect gift.
  • Desk Lamp: Help reduce eye fatigue, neck strain, and headaches with targeted illumination over work documents.
  • Humanscale QuickStand Adjustable Workstation: Give the gift of flexibility in the workplace. This adjustable workstation clamps to any fixed-height desk surface and allows for customized height so that friends and family can sit or stand comfortably while working.
  • Rocking Footrest: Keep feet moving for lasting relief. Improve circulation and properly align spine, to hip, to knee alignment to reduce strain.
  • Extended Reach Monitor Arm: Effortlessly adjust the monitor to the proper height for comfort all day long. Adjustable height helps to reduce upper back and neck strain.
  • AdaptDesk by Relax The Back: Freedom to move easily from sitting to standing, now that’s a gift that keeps on giving. This ergonomic standing desk rises and falls with the touch of a button to quickly transition position while working.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained associate who can help you find the perfect gift based on specific needs. We give our customers one-on-one support to ensure they are going home with the best product solutions for themselves or someone in their life. Visit us online at RelaxTheBack.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more holiday tips and gift guides.

Sit, Stand, Move: Healthy Office Tips + The Importance of Movement

blog-movement

Think about the structure of our skeleton, our muscles, joints, and ligaments. Our bodies are made to move. Staying in one position for prolonged periods of time causes our muscles to tighten, circulation to slow, and increases the risk of serious health concerns.

Movement and support in the workspace is essential to preventing pain and discomfort. While incorporating movement into your work routine is important, how your workspace supports you is also a big factor to consider. Office equipment should allow for flexibility while also supporting your body where you need it most. This decreases the risk for injury and pain and increases energy levels and productivity throughout the day.

Practice these tips to incorporate movement into your day and be on your way to a happier, healthier workspace.

  • Perform simple stretches: Relax muscle stiffness, increase energy, and reduce stress with simple stretches that work your back, arms, and neck.
  • Take a break: While you may have felt like you were on a roll from 9am to 3pm, by the time the afternoon-slump comes around your body is paying for the lack of movement. Beat the 3 o’clock lull with movement early and often. Aim for 5-10 minutes away from your desk every hour. Your body and eyes will thank you.
  • Stay hydrated: Dawn Jackson’s, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, advice is to set goals. Bring a 16- to 20-oz bottle to fill up with water throughout the day. Work on finishing it before lunch, refill and finish again by 3pm, and finish one last full bottle by 6pm.
  • Set alarms: Need help remembering to get up and move around or the fill up that water bottle? Set alarms on your phone or computer for a quick reminder.
  • Invest in products that promote movement: Rocking footrests help keep your legs active while you work. Standing desks allow you to easily change positions throughout the day, improving circulation. Ergonomic office chairs with Core-Flex technology promotes constant, natural motion while seated while strengthening the spine.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more healthy office tips and product solutions. Visit your local Relax The Back location to speak with a trained specialists who can help you find comfort at work.

Ergonomic Workstation Essentials

 

Ergonomic Workstation Essentials When it comes to workplace wellness, your workstation set up plays a big role in your physical health, productivity, stress and energy levels. Sitting in one position for long hours takes a toll on your spine, increases the risk of aches and pains and decreases productivity and alertness throughout the day. Creating a comfortable workstation can make a big difference in how you feel at work.

A healthy ergonomic workstation is the sum many parts. These parts work together to help you stay comfortable and efficient at work while preventing pain and discomfort. Here are some ergonomic workstation essentials that can help you have a productive, pain-free workday:

  • Ergonomic Office Chair: Better comfort, better posture, and better health are just a few benefits of ergonomic chairs. Choose a chair that offers proper lumbar support and adjusts to your body’s needs.
  • Laptop Raiser:  Using a raiser is an easy, quick way to find greater comfort and ergonomic positioning while relieving the eye and neck strain often associated with notebook computing.
  • Monitor Arm: Effortlessly adjust the height and position of your monitor to reduce upper back and neck pain. Monitor arms make smaller workspaces more productive and keep valuable desk space clear for other uses.
  • Footrests: Leg activity is crucial to maintaining comfort and good circulation. By using a raised footrest you can counteract the negative effects of sitting, reduce lower back pressure and increase blood flow.
  • Task Light: Proper lighting placement and the correct level of illumination reduce headaches, eye fatigue, and neck strain. A bright, adjustable light allows you to position the light over paper documents and away from your monitor to prevent glare.
  • Standing Desk: Transitioning to a standing desk gives you the ability to easily change positions from sitting to standing to relieve stress on your spine, increase circulation, and mental alertness.

Visit your local Relax The Back location to receive a custom adjustment of the proper ergonomic workstation and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information on ergonomic workstations and solutions.

A Brief History: The Evolution of Ergonomics

Ergonomics
In the 1940s, an advancement of machinery and equipment during and post-World War II lead to a disharmony between people and the equipment they were using. There was an increased risk of human error and poor user performance. In order to avoid negative effects of human limitations, equipment had to be designed to take advantage of human capabilities consequently, establishing the scientific discipline we know today as Ergonomics. While the early focus of ergonomics was on aviation and aircraft controls, it has become a standard practice in designing computers, cars, and other consumer products.

With 33% of work-related injuries being caused by poor work station setup, occupational ergonomics is a top priority for many employers and employees. Over the years, there has been a shift in the way companies look at ergonomics. Companies were reactive when addressing proper ergonomics, oftentimes waiting to react to injuries or employee complaints, whereas today, the approach is proactive. Companies use tools, equipment, and best practices to prevent injuries and reduce the level of exposure. Companies are now encouraged to have integrated design phases, which take equipment, products, layout, and standard ergonomic guidelines into account when designing workspaces. Another shift in the discipline has been the method of assessment. Years ago, employees would attend classroom training sessions, in-person evaluations by a certified staff member, and chair-fitting rooms. Today, there is a stronger emphasis on employee-driven, in-office assessments. Chairs and workstations offer full range of adjustability, workstation design is based on computer use, and employees are able to assess and adjust their own workstations.

Here at Relax The Back, we continue to learn and improve our knowledge on ergonomics, and the tools and equipment that can be used to reduce and prevent injuries.  Read more information on ergonomics or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists about a free workstation assessment.

 

Maintaining Healthy Motion in the Office

Modern office work consists primarily of static tasks: computer operation, reading, talking on the phone, or sitting in meetings. Ergonomic research has alerted us to the fact that our bodies thrive on motion, and that maintaining fixed positions for long periods of time will degrade our health.  There are excellent suggestions for modifying our office routines to incorporate more motion, such as taking brief movement breaks, working from a standing position, or just remembering to change our posture more often.  Is there any other type of movement that we can do without being distracted from our computer and desk work?

Fortunately there is, and you’re sitting on the answer.  When we sit down, we immobilize the largest and most powerful muscles in our body.  The muscles of the pelvis and thigh are designed for the constant work of moving and supporting the body’s weight, they aren’t meant to be cushions!  When these muscles are forced to remain inactive for long periods of time, they stop burning calories and accumulate waste products due to decreased circulation.  Since most of us can walk and chew gum at the same, it makes sense to allow our legs a greater range of motion while we are sitting.  This is the principle behind the Core-flex seating technology, to allow the natural alternating motion of the legs to be continued while we are sitting.

Research on postural sway shows that when we stand still, the body maintains a constant transfer of weight from side to side 2-3 times per minute (Duarte et al, 2011).  This is not surprising when we remember that walking is the most natural motion (and the best exercise) for the human body.  The alternation of weight from one leg to the other is also crucial for spinal health, as the tilting pelvis flexes the spine and activates core musculature.  The natural motion of the Core-flex seat activates the majority of the muscles in the legs and pelvis, but in a voluntary non-distracting manner.  If you can walk and talk on the phone at the same time, then you can work on your computer while maintaining intermittent motion in your legs and core.  These movements stimulate your metabolism, and can boost your mental and physiological performance all day long.

 

Steve Pearse is the inventor of the Core-flex seating technology, which is based on the principle that a healthy lifestyle requires movement throughout the day.  His background includes engineering, furniture design, fitness and recreation

 

 

 

Duarte, M., Freitas, S. M. S. F., & Zatsiorsky, V. (2011). Control of equilibrium in humans—Sway over sway. Motor control.  Oxford University Press, Oxford, 219-242.

Sciatica

Many Relax The Back customers come to us seeking pain relief for various back and neck conditions. One of the top reasons is Sciatica – a term used to describe symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. This nerve originates in the lower back and travels down the back of legs into each foot.

Common symptoms include:

  • Varying pain (mild aches/tingling to sharp, burning sensations) that most often occurs in one leg
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in parts of the hip and leg
  • Worsening pain made by coughing, sneezing, sitting, or standing

Because sciatica is a symptom of another medical condition (i.e. degenerative disc disease and lumbar spinal stenosis), the underlying cause should be identified and treated. Doctors will run a physical and neurological examination to look for limitations of movement, balance difficulties, and what exacerbates and relieves pain. During the exam, your doctor will test your reflexes, muscle strength, sensations, or other signs of neurologic loss. Your doctor may order imaging studies such as plain x-ray, CT, or MRI to study and confirm your diagnosis to direct your treatment plan.

Usually, one or more non-surgical treatments are very effective at relieving symptoms. These include:

  • Medications to reduce inflammation and pain – this includes over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Cold/heat therapy – Try ice for the first 48-72 hours, followed by heat. We recommend our Moji Back Pain Relief System, which can be discretely worn under your clothes. It helps relieve pain and tension with both heat and cold therapy precisely where you need it most.
  • Therapy – Incorporate stretching via inversion therapy to increase flexibility. Inversion allows your sciatic nerve to elongate thereby reducing pressure.
  • Ergonomics – Maintain a good posture at rest and work. Check out our top recommendations for a whole body approach to an ergonomic workstation.
  • Sleep in fetal position – It’s best to sleep in a semi-fetal position with a pillow between your legs. Our Snoozer Body Pillow provides comfort and ergonomic support from your neck to your feet for a deep, relaxing sleep.

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Spine

If 2012 was marred by back and neck pain, add these 5 resolutions to your list. Remember, your spine connects many nerves, muscles and ligaments throughout the body, making spinal health key to your overall health.

1. Resolve to cherish sleep
While sleeping, your spine finally has an opportunity to relax and repair itself. Try sleeping in a neutral position on your back or on the side to avoid forcing any extra curves into your back. Make sure you have a supportive pillow and mattress to properly and comfortably sleep in a neutral position. This way, your body can take full advantage of restorative sleep and more easily be able to relax.

2. Resolve to stretch
Tight muscles can cause imbalances in bodily structure, increasing the risk of injury and causing pain. In particular, tight muscles around the spine cause spinal stress instead of providing adequate spinal support. Also, tight hamstrings can pull the pelvis out of its normal alignment with the spine, causing back and joint pain. Consider stretching your spine via inversion therapy – effective and only takes a couple minutes.

3. Resolve to be active
Different types of exercise protect the spine in different ways. For example, abdominal exercises strengthen the core area, which support and protect the spine. Cardio helps shed extra weight that drags down on ligaments, muscles, and tendons of the lower back. Exercise helps the healing process, so for those sidelined by injury, make it a priority to stay active within your physical means.

4. Resolve to create a spine-healthy work environment
For full-time office workers, lower back pain may be a result of poor workplace ergonomics. From sitting on a chair with good back support to avoiding prolonged sitting, all systems, levels, and angles must work together for an ergonomic workstation. For more information, check out our infographic on how to design your workspace for maximum movement, flexibility, comfort, and productivity.

5. Resolve to stay hydrated
We all know water is vital, but don’t underestimate its importance to the spine. Our spinal discs can shrink over time if they don’t get enough water, resulting in less “padding” and increased likelihood of spinal ruptures or bulges. Resolve to choose water as your accompanying beverage of choice at meals, and sip liberally throughout the day.

Is Your Workspace a Pain in the Back?

Is your workspace designed for maximum movement, flexibility, comfort and productivity? Relax The Back believes that work should never be a pain. Visit your local store and ask our trained neck-and-spine experts how to construct an ergonomic office. If you’re far from one our locations, check out these important guidelines and conduct your own ergonomic assessment:

Relax The Back Ergonomic Office Setup