Tag Archives: ergonomics

5 Tips For A Healthy Workplace

Movement and support at the office is key to being happy and healthy at work. Think about the structure of our skeleton, our muscles, and our ligaments. Our bodies are made to move. By moving often, our muscles stay loose and warm, free of tension, our circulation is improved, and we simply feel better inside and out.

While incorporating movement into your daily work routine is important, the way your office supports you is also a factor to consider. Your office equipment should allow for flexibility and support where you need it most. From your neck and shoulders, down to your legs and feet, quality ergonomic office equipment promotes proper posture, comfort and wellness throughout the day while allowing the flexibility to easily move about.

Make comfort and productivity a priority in the office. Try these tips to help you incorporate movement into your day for a happier, healthier workspace.

  • Stretch often: Increase energy, relax muscle stiffness, and reduce stress with simple stretches that can be done right at your desk.
  • Take a break: Beat the afternoon slump with movement early and often. Making time to stretch and move is key. By taking breaks, you’re also allowing yourself to collect your thoughts and ideas for current or future projects as well as de-stressing and releasing tension.
  • Stay hydrated: Bring a large water bottle (16- to 20-oz) with you to work to fill up throughout the day. Work on finishing and refilling the bottle at least three times.
  • Set daily alarms: One way to remember to drink water and move around is to set alarms. Set them on your phone or computer to go off throughout the day as a quick reminder.
  • Invest in products that promote movement: Standing desks allow you to easily change positions throughout the day and promote energy and productivity. Rocking footrests help keep your legs active while you work, improving your circulation. Ergonomic office chairs with Core-Flex technology strengthen the spine while promoting constant, natural motion when seated.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with our trained specialists and try out our wide selection of our office products. Our experts will come to your home or office, complete an ergonomic assessment and help you find the product solution to ensure you’re working comfortably throughout your entire day. Follow us FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest for more tools to achieve ‘round the clock personalized comfort.

How Do You Work? Maximizing Relief At The Office

While your to-do list at the office can sometimes feel overwhelming, your workspace should not. Optimizing your workspace is essential to promoting comfort and wellness throughout the day. Sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time is detrimental to our health. This leads to back and neck pain, shoulder pain, an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, and even early death.

Using products that encourage movement will increase energy levels, productivity, and comfort. Frequent movement, including alternating between sitting and standing, improves circulation while relieving stress on your back and legs.

Make comfort and productivity your highest priority at the office. Here are ways to ensure you are working smarter with a space that suits your needs.

Standing

A sit-to-stand desk allows you to easily change positions with the touch of a button. Strike the perfect balance of sitting and standing to stay focused, energetic, and on your way to leading a healthier day. The top of your desk should reach your elbows when they are at a 90-degree angle.

Footrests often go overlooked when discussing standing desks however; this is an essential piece to having all day relief. A supportive footrest increases blood flow and circulation, prevents cramps and stiffness, and helps reduce back pain while standing by keeping your legs active and moving. A properly angled footrest also encourages proper spinal alignment.

Sitting

When sitting, it is incredibly important to have the right support. Ergonomic office chairs offer lasting comfort, better posture, and improved health. A well-designed chair can make the difference between leaving the office feeling at ease or in pain. Adjustable seat height, lumbar support, stability, and movability are key when choosing an office chair. Your office chair should have a high back to support the upper back, a slightly reclined backrest, and arm rests at a 90-degree angle.

Lumbar support should be placed slightly below the waist. Supplemental lumbar support in the way of a back cushion can be added to existing chairs to provide support where you need it most.

Footrests are also an important factor when seated. Rest your feet on a rocking footrest to keep motion in your lower body, blood flowing, and provide ergonomic relief for your upper back. When feet are not on a footrest, be sure they are resting flat on the floor to ensure proper ergonomic alignment.

If you are using a sitting desk, we encourage you to move around for 10 minutes every hour to help you feel more alert and energized, relax muscle stiffness, and increase range of motion and flexibility.

Ergonomic Cockpit

A pilot’s cockpit is designed so that the essential controls are within arm’s reach. This allows them to find what they need without unnecessary movement or strain. This same logic applies to your workstation. Equipment you use most often, such as your computer mouse and keyboard, should be the closest to you in your primary work area. This area allows your wrist and palms to maintain neutral posture. Learn more about ergonomic cockpits in this ergonomic cockpit guide.

You can reduce the risk of injury and pain at the office with proper ergonomics, where convenient levels, proper heights, and the best angels work together to achieve maximum comfort.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist and try out our office products. They will come to your home or office, do an ergonomic assessment and help you find the product solution to ensure you’re working comfortably throughout your day. Follow our 24-hour approach to comfort and wellness on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more tools to achieve ‘round the clock personalized comfort.

Everyone Deserves 24 Hours Of Comfort And Wellness

From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, our decisions throughout the day affect our overall comfort and wellness. At Relax The Back, we understand the importance of living a fulfilling life of relaxation, wellness, and comfort. For more than 30 years, our mission has been to make life more comfortable and our passion is helping you experience comfort and relief so you can get back to living your best life.

Over the next 6 weeks, we will provide our community with solutions and tools to achieve ‘round the clock personalized comfort. From a weekly personalized relief giveaway, to a look into the different options of comfort for every aspect of life, from work to sleep to travel, to showing ways to be proactive in our healthcare routine, we aim to equip you with the knowledge to improve your overall wellness so you can live the life you’ve always wanted.

We’ve created this helpful infographic to demonstrate our 24-hour approach to comfort and wellness. The health benefits of utilizing these products and solutions will provide you with the comfort that we believe should be in every aspect of your day. Whether it’s using our Technogel® Pillows to improve circulation while you sleep or relieving back pressure at home in our Zero Gravity chairs, you deserve ‘round the clock relief. Make sure to stop by a Relax The Back location to discuss your specific needs with our in-store professionals, so we can find a personalized approach that works for you.

Be sure to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

5 Tips To Beat The Afternoon Slump

We’ve all been there. You’re having a very productive morning, checking off tasks on your to-do lists, you’re in the zone, when 2p.m. rolls around and you can barely keep your eyes open. Energy levels dip, it’s harder to concentrate; it’s the dreaded afternoon slump.

Our circadian rhythm may be the one to blame for those midday sluggish feelings. Our bodies “sleep signals” peak at night and in the afternoon around 2p.m., making us feel like we want to curl up for a quick nap in the middle of the day. Along with sleep cycles, there are a few factors that can contribute (and beat!) afternoon fatigue.

From the food we eat at lunch, to our stress levels, to our workout routines, check out a few reasons you may be losing energy in the middle of the day and ways to finish the day off energized and alert.

In addition to the helpful tips from Cleveland Clinic, your workstation setup plays a big role in how you feel throughout the day. Having a proper ergonomic workstation that allows for movement and flexibility will help you stay alert and productive while preventing any pain or discomfort. Take a look at these tips to setting up an ergonomic workstation and ways you can incorporate movement into your day.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained expert who can help you set up your workstation. They will guide you through numerous products that fit your work style to find the perfect match and provide you with information on staying healthy and productive at the office.

Afternoon Slump

How To Set Up Your Ergonomic Cockpit

Movement and proper support in the workplace is essential to having a productive, pain-free day. Our bodies were made to move however, many Americans are sitting roughly 8 hours a day. That adds up to 56 hours a week of staying in the same position.

When we do not have the proper setup that promotes ergonomic comfort and movement, arm, hand, and shoulder fatigue caused by over exertion can occur as well as stress on limbs due to awkward positions, and musculoskeletal disorders and injuries.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sure your workspace is properly set up and adjusted to provide the most comfort and support throughout the day.

ergonomic cockpit

Setting up your ergonomic cockpit

An ergonomic workstation should minimize awkward postures and exertions, allow for proper placement of all necessary computer accessories, and provide proper clearance for your legs. Think of your desk as a cockpit, similar to an airplane or a car. All of your essential pieces of office equipment should be within arm’s reach to prevent unnecessary movement and strain.

Use these three key points as a guide for setting up an ergonomic cockpit:

  • Align the bottom of your monitor and the spacebar on the keyboard with the midline of the body.
  • Equipment you use most often, such as your computer mouse and keyboard, should be closest to you in the primary work area. This primary work area allows your wrists and palms to always maintain neutral posture.
  • Tools used less often should remain within arm’s reach however, these can be placed slightly farther away, just past the primary work area. It’s important to remember all tools should never be too far away as to cause exertion or strain when reaching for them.

Relax The Back has a number of product solutions that will help you setup your ergonomic cockpit.

  • Ergonomic office chairs improve your posture and make it easy for you to work by supporting your lumbar, back, and arms.
  • Adjustable standing desks relieve stress on your back and legs and help you avoid feelings of lethargy and fatigue.
  • Ergonomic footrests increase blood flow and circulation throughout your body to prevent discomfort or stiffness.

Our trained ergonomic experts can work with you to create the ultimate workstation. Visit your local Relax The Back location and with our help, we will find the products that work best for your current office situation and pain needs.

5 Reasons You Have A Stiff Neck

5 Reasons You Have A Stiff Neck

Neck pain is never a pleasant experience. Tense, sore muscles make it difficult to do even the simplest everyday tasks. A stiff neck can also make it harder to get a restful night’s sleep. There are a number of different reasons you may be experiencing this pain. Thankfully, there are also numerous ways to treat non-severe neck pain.

Here are a few common reasons you may have a stiff neck.

Causes of a stiff neck

  • Injury: Any accident that causes your head and neck to jerk around forcibly could lead to stiffness due to injured muscles and ligaments in your neck. A fall, car collision, or getting hit while playing sports are possible instances where this type of injury would occur.
  • Pinched nerve: A pinched nerve can be caused by accidents where you herniate a disk or by arthritis. In these cases, neck stiffness can radiate into your arms and your legs.
  • Stress: Every one’s body handles stress differently. While some may feel back pain, grind their teeth, or get tension headaches, others may carry their stress in the upper back and neck. Stress can cause muscle to become tense. If you are feeling stiffness in your neck, consider your stress levels as a potential cause.
  • Fibromyalgia: This common arthritis-related symptom causes joint and muscle pain, fatigue, and stiffness. If you suffer from fibromyalgia, try these tips to help cope.
  • Muscle Spasm: Repetitive activity or any movements that puts your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged amount of time can cause neck muscles to spasm. For example, having your computer screen placed too high causing you to look up to do work could cause neck stiffness.

At- Home treatment for neck pain

  • Ice and heat therapy: Within the first 48 -72 hours, use cold therapy tools, such as the PROTOCOLD Therapy Pads, to reduce inflammation. After this time period, soothing heat will keep inflammation down, improve blood circulation, and release tension in your neck muscles. Try our Far Infrared Heat Wrap to find relief.
  • Ergonomics: Proper workstation setup is key to having a productive, pain-free day. Everything from your monitor placement, to where you put your mouse, to the height of your chair will affect comfort levels as well as how much strain is placed on your muscles and joints. Here are a few tips to setting up an ergonomic workstation.
  • Exercise: Simple stretches can help relieve tension and reduce stiffness in your neck.
  • Pillows: Use a supportive pillow that is fitted to your body type to avoid strain and discomfort throughout the night. The proper pillow aligns your head and spine for maximum comfort and pressure relief.
  • Massage: Gentle massage helps to increase blood flow to neck muscles to release tension and provide comfort. Our Epulse Neck and Shoulder Massager’s body-hugging design provides targeted relief.

We recommend consulting a physician if your pain is extreme or you find your symptoms worsening. It is always important to speak with a doctor before starting any new routines or health regimens.

Understanding Proper Posture

Take a moment to notice your current posture. Are you slouching or hunching over your keyboard? While at work, you may not realize you’re slipping into these poor postures. Creating a health, comfortable workspace doesn’t stop with ergonomic office products. Your posture also plays a role in your overall health.

Poor posture can lead to a number of health concerns including chronic neck and back pain, headaches, and muscle fatigue. Proper posture allows our bodies to be aligned in a neutral position, which is the body’s most natural position. Working towards maintaining this posture throughout the workday can help reduce strains and stress on your tendons, muscles, and spine.

Spot the signs of poor posture and ways you can work on it in the helpful infographic below. If you’re looking to create an ergonomic, spine-friendly workspace, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists and receive an in-person workstation assessment. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more ergonomic tips and pain-relief solutions.

Understanding Proper Posture

5 Tips for Back Pain Relief at the Office

5 Tips for Back Pain Relief at the Office

After the common cold, back pain is the second most common cause of missing work. Back pain, whether sharp, dull, or achy, can make it difficult to concentrate at the office. While many occupations can contribute to or worsen back pain, there are tips you can follow for back pain relief at the office.

There are a number of causes of back pain at the office. Poor posture, repetitive movements, and exerting too much force on your lower back are the most common causes of pain.

If you experience back pain at the office, find relief and prevent future pain with these five tips:

  • Stretch Daily: There are many benefits of daily stretching. Increase flexibility, relieve pain and tightness, and increase range of motion by incorporating stretches into your daily routine. Office stretches can offer relief right where you need it most.
  • Maintain Posture: Keep posture in mind while at the office. Maintaining posture helps prevent low back pain as well as improve muscle tone and circulation. Follow these tips for maintaining proper posture in different positions.
  • Move Often: Set timers or alarms as a reminder to move during the day. Staying in any position, sitting or standing, for prolonged periods of time can cause muscle stiffness and pain. Plan to move around for a few minutes, every hour.
  • Proper Ergonomics: Setting up an ergonomic workstation will help ensure you’re working the least compromising position. Lumbar support cushions, ergonomic office chairs, and standing desks provide proper ergonomic support at different price points.
  • Listen to your body: If there are days where you are feeling under the weather, take breaks when needed. If you’re sitting for long periods of time and you start to feel pain, stretch or stand up for a few minutes. Changing positions occasionally throughout the day can help you stay comfortable at the office.

High Tech Office Ergonomics

High Tech Office ErgonomicsWith 33% of work-related injuries being caused by poor workstation setup, it is no surprise that many offices are beginning to move away from traditional setups to workstations focused on providing proper ergonomic support.

Studies have shown we are sitting, on average, 56 hours a week. Regardless if you maintain an active lifestyle outside of work, you can still be susceptible to pains and discomfort from sitting for prolonged periods of time. Creating a comfortable, ergonomic workstation plays a big role in your physical health, stress, energy, and productivity levels.

High Tech Ergonomics

Today, ergonomic products are evolving to keep up with the high tech advances of society. Most recently, a former Apple engineer and his company, Stir Works, released the first ever height adaptive “smart” desk. The Stir Kinetic Desk was created to help users effortlessly move while they work throughout the day. When we’re spending half of our waking hours at work, it is important to invest in your health.

  • Learns: This desk senses your presence while working and keeps track of your daily movements. It begins to adapt to your specific needs the more you use it. By tracking your habits, it is able to customize moving from sitting to standing to benefit you best. Stir focuses on keeping you active, so you can focus on working.
  • Breathes: Known as the “whisper breath”, the Stir Kinetic gently rises and falls to remind you to move. This breath invites and reminds people to move throughout the day. This physical engagement is a gentle push in getting people to be more active at their desks.
  • Quantifies: While it tracks your daily movements and habits, the Stir Kinetic Desk shares information with you regarding how much you sit, stand while working and extra calories burned through it’s touchscreen pad.

While a high tech ergonomic desk can help make a difference in your health, a desk alone will not solve all of the problems associated with poor workstation setup. From your monitor arms, to your mouse and keyboard setup, to your desk light, the positions of your workstation equipment play a role in helping you stay comfortable and pain-free. Think of your desk as a cockpit, similar to your car or an airplane. All of your essential pieces of equipment should be within arm’s reach to prevent unnecessary movement and straining. Be sure to have enough space on your desk to move freely without forcing awkward postures or exertions.

 

Setting Up an Ergonomic Workstation

Setting Up an Ergonomic WorkstationIf you are one of the many Americans who suffer from daily pain and discomfort at the office, your workstation setup may be to blame. Fortunately, with proper ergonomics, you can reduce the risk of pain and discomfort and improve productivity while staying comfortable at the office.

Follow this guide to be on your way to a healthier workstation.

Monitor

Monitors should be arms distance away, at least 20 inches, and the center of your screen should reach eye level. Keeping the proper distance will help reduce eye fatigue and headaches. Monitor arms allow you to effortlessly adjust the position and height of your monitor to reduce strain in your upper back and neck. If working on a laptop, a laptop raiser is a quick and easy option to find comfort and ergonomic positioning.

Footrest

Reduce low back pressure, increase blood flow and circulation, and counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting with a footrest. When sitting or standing, maintaining movement in your legs with a footrest can help keep you comfortable throughout the day.

Task Light

When it comes to your light level, aim for brightness of a nice day without sunglasses on. Place lights over paper documents and away from your monitor to prevent glare. Light levels and placement play a role in reducing headaches, eye fatigue, and neck strain.

Keyboard

If using a keyboard tray, your keyboard should be slightly below the elbow. Be sure to keep the keyboard flat and your wrists in neutral position to avoid strain.

Ergonomic Office Chair

Your office chair should have a high back to support your upper back, a slightly reclined backrest, and arm rests at a 90-degree angle. Be sure to have your feet resting flat on the floor or on a footrest below your desk. Lumbar support should be placed slightly below the waist.

Standing Desk

Our bodies are not meant to stay seated or standing for prolonged periods of time. If possible, include an adjustable standing desk in your ergonomic workstation. The top of your desk should reach your elbows when they are in a 90-degree position. Transitioning from sitting to standing throughout the day can improve mental alertness, increase circulation, and relieve stress on your spine.

For more information, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit your local Relax The Back location to get an ergonomic office assessment from one of our trained neck-and-spine experts.

 

 

Healthy Workspace, Healthy You

Healthy Workspace, Healthy YouThis week we are kicking off our Healthy Workspace, Healthy You campaign! When half of our waking hours are spent working, it’s important to invest in a healthy workspace. Creating a comfortable, ergonomic workstation will help increase your productivity levels, decrease your risk for work-related pains and discomforts, and improve your overall health and wellness.

Over the next 8 weeks we will be providing you pain-relief solutions that can help you create a productive, pain-free, and healthy workspace. We will also be highlighting the numerous benefits of ergonomic workstations so you can be on your way to a healthier you!

Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and our blog for around the clock tips and pain relief solutions.

Workplace Eye Wellness Month

eyestrainMarch is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. If you work on a computer, or look at e-readers, tablets, and smart phones for prolonged periods of time, you may be one of the many individuals who experience eyestrain and vision problems throughout the day.

A new study is claiming that we are spending more time on our phones and laptops than we are spending sleeping. On average, people spend 8 hours 41 minutes on digital devices and 8 hours 21 minutes sleeping a day.

These prolonged periods of time spent looking at a screen can lead to serious eye problems. One in particular is known as Computer Vision Syndrome. CVS, or Digital Eye Strain, is a group of vision and eye-related problems that result from prolonged digital device use.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eyestrain
  • Neck and Shoulder pain

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent the onset of CVS and reduce eyestrain and discomfort.

  • 20/20 Rule: If you’re working at a computer, take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to shift your focus on something 20 feet away.
  • Don’t forget to blink: When looking at a screen, make a conscious effort to blink more. It’s common for people to blink less frequently while working on a computer, which leads to dry, red eyes. Blinking often keeps eyes moist.
  • Take breaks: Every hour take a break from your desk and your computer screen to move around. Not only does this help with energy levels and productivity, it helps rest your eyes from the glare of your monitor.
  • Proper ergonomics: Take into account the position of lighting and your monitor. Proper lighting placement and monitor height reduce eye fatigue and neck strain.
  • See a doctor: Stay up-to-date on your eye health and schedule regular eye exams with your doctor. Be sure to tell them if you use digital devices daily.

Visit your local Relax The Back location to receive an ergonomic workstation assessment to help keep eyestrain and fatigue to a minimum.

Gifts of Comfort: Stocking Stuffers

Gifts of comfort come in all sizes. Whether you are buying for your daughter, father-in-law, or family friend, we have gift ideas that everyone will be happy to find in their stocking on Christmas day.

Below we’ve listed our favourite stocking stuffers to help relieve pain and discomfort this holiday:

  • Sleep Mask by Tempur-Pedic ($29): Soothing sleep makes the perfect gift! Cool and comfortable, this mask is made with pressure-relieving TEMPUR material, so you can nod off in total darkness. Perfect for loved ones who travel often.
  • ErgoTravel Keyboard ($40): This waterproof, flexible, and worry-free keyboard prevents strain on arms, wrists, and back while providing ergonomic support for your hard-working loved one.
  • Moji 360 Foot Massager ($39): Know a loved one that can never have too many foot massages? The Moji 360 mimics the touch of a professional massage therapist to revitalize sore, tired, and aching feet.
  • Self-Inflating Back Rest ($40): For work, at the movies, or in the car, this lumbar support is easy-to-use and easy-to-store. This is a gift that keeps on giving, long after the holiday season.
  • TEMPUR All-Purpose Pillow ($49): This pillow’s unique “peanut” shape allows for multi-purpose ergonomic support. Its space-saving size makes it a perfect travel neck roll, lumbar cushion, or leg spacer.

Add these great gifts to your loved ones (or your own) stocking this year. Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist who can help you find the perfect gift based on specific needs. Also be sure to visit us online (www.relaxtheback.com) and on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Transition from Sitting to Standing at Work

Stand Up Desk TipsMany offices have begun moving away from traditional desks to transition to standing desks. Standing up to work can decrease health issues such as obesity and heart disease. Standing also helps prevent leg disorders due to poor circulation and keeps good cholesterol from dropping.

Using a height-adjustable desk helps you stay focused, productive, and energetic throughout the day while maintaining the ability to easily move from sitting to standing. Get the best of both worlds with these tips to transition from sitting to standing at work:

  • Flexibility is key: We are not designed to stay in one position for prolonged hours. Standing for long periods of time can also be harmful to your health. Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day; making sure to stand for a minimum of 5 minutes every hour. Find a routine that works best for you, as every person is different.
  • Think about ergonomics: Optimize your workspace by placing monitors and keyboards at the correct height. Your elbows should rest at a 90-degree angle. The center of your monitor should be 10-25 degrees below horizontal eye level. A laptop raiser or monitor arm can help you find the proper adjustment.
  • Find comfort: Be sure to have proper footwear that has the right amount of support for your feet. If you work in a more formal setting, keep a pair of shoes at your desk that you can switch into when your feet start to bother you. Use a footrest to help increase circulation, relieve pressure on your lower back and provide raised foot support.
  • Focus on posture: Whether you are sitting or standing, it may be easy to slip into old habits of “easy” or “comfortable” slouching positions. Beware of your posture throughout the day. When standing, keep a relaxed stance, instead of a tense and rigid gait. When seated, keep your knees slightly lower than your hips with your feet planted firmly on the floor.

For a personal assessment, make a trip to your closest Relax The Back store and start experiencing a more productive and pain-free workday. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tips and information on ergonomics and workplace wellness.

Taking Work to Bed

Does working away on a laptop and spreadsheets in bed lead to more productivity and comfort than working behind a desk? A recent poll found nearly 1 in 5 employees spend two to ten hours working from bed in a given week. A mobile-security company polled its workers to find half of the 1,000 employees work from bed. Many claim to respond or read work emails, addressing colleagues that may work in different time zones. While this may be a comfortable theory, ergonomically speaking it is not a good practice.

WSJ looks at the negative affects of working in bed. Not only is it physically demanding on your body, it also has negative emotional and mental affects. Consider making your bedroom a device-free zone and make efforts to have a more productive day while at the office. However, if you believe you get your best work done this way, we recommend using a Bed Wedge System to properly support your back while you work.

Working in Bed

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.

 

Office Work Habits: Desk Habits

For many, sitting at a desk for work is unavoidable. A desk that is appropriately adjusted in addition to being well designed is an important part of an ergonomic workstation. A well-made desk should provide proper clearance for your legs, minimize awkward exertions and postures, and allow for proper placement of computer accessories.

A desk that isn’t properly set up or well designed can cause shoulder, back, and neck pain, which can lead to discomfort and performance inefficiencies. Generalized fatigue and contact stress are also a result of a poorly designed desk and the inability to change working positions.

Follow this ergonomic guide to avoid unnecessary strain and pain:

  • Frequently used devices (phones, keyboards, and mouse) should be within comfortable reaching distance.
  • Work surface depth should allow the monitor to be viewed at a distance of at least 20 inches.
  • If necessary, remove center drawers or insert stable risers under table legs to create clearance for your thighs and legs.
  • Use a height-adjustable desk, such as a Standing Desk, to have the ability to change working positions from sitting to standing throughout the day.
  • Standing up from your desk every hour for 2 – 3 minutes can help reverse the negative effects of sitting all day.

For more information on Ergonomic workstations and solutions, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit your local Relax The Back store to receive a custom adjustment of the proper Ergonomic workstation.

 

Workplace Pains & Strains: Solutions

Studies have shown on average we are sitting at least 56 hours a week. Even if you have an active lifestyle outside of work, you can still be susceptible to pains and strains from prolonged periods of sitting.

Having a proper ergonomic workstation is key to preventing aches and pains. Common pains that happen due to improper ergonomics include: back, shoulder, and neck pain, headaches, eye fatigue and strain, spinal curvature, poor circulation, contact stress, swelling and numbness of the legs and tingling of the arms, hands and fingers.

While it isn’t always easy to avoid improper ergonomic behavior, there are ways to help ease the pains. Here are some solutions to the most common pains you may have caused by your work environment:

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Get Moving

Movement is key for well-being, but due in part to rapidly changing technologies and lifestyles, we have effectively removed movement from the daily routine. Many popular publications claim that sitting “is the new smoking,” “reduces your lifespan” and “causes cancer.” As an ergonomist, I receive many questions about incorporating movement into the workday that revolve around this negative reaction to sitting. My approach has always been to recommend movement. Sitting all day might be bad, but prolonged standing is not the answer either.

Let’s look at the facts: the typical American spends 95% of the workday sitting. Sitting in static postures for extended periods of time is hard on the body. Such sitting elevates spinal disc pressure, increases muscle loading in the back, neck and shoulders and lowers the demands on the circulatory system, which can impact heart activity, blood flow and fatigue. In fact, sitting for just one hour can result in a 90% decline in production of enzymes that are responsible for burning fat.

But switching to a permanently standing workstation may not be the best solution either. Prolonged standing can be more tiring and requires about 20% more energy. It can cause pooling in the lower legs and has been linked to foot pain, varicose veins and static muscle fatigue in the lower body. The solution is movement, not one posture or the other.

There is increasing evidence that varying posture throughout the day has significant health benefits. Allowing the body to undergo postural changes improves circulation, keeps the spine nourished and minimizes unnecessary static muscle fatigue. There are many ways to achieve postural changes and integrate more spontaneous movement into your day. If you are at a permanently seated workstation, try unlocking the backrest of your chair, adjust the tension to support gentle movement in your upper body when you lean back and look for opportunities to take “micro breaks” to stand up, stretch or take a walk.

To integrate more movement into your day, you can try a height-adjustable table. These workstations allow for the greatest amount of postural variation and have been shown to significantly reduce discomfort and health risks. A 2011 study in conjunction with the CDC found that implementing dedicated height-adjustable workstations and encouraging employees to stand for just one hour per day resulted in a 54% reduction in upper back and neck pain, and a 71% increase in focus. A 2009 Mayo Clinic study found that it was possible to burn an additional 340 calories per day by spending two hours standing. If you’re considering a height-adjustable workstation, think about the types of technology that are available, their energy requirements, the table’s ease of use and the intended use of the table.

No matter what your workstation setup is—seated, sit-stand or standing—the key to optimal health and performance is providing support for the body in neutral, healthy postures and integrating spontaneous movement throughout the day.