Ergonomics – how people interact with their workspace — gets a lot of focus in the corporate environment, but it requires your attention at home, too. People come in different shapes and sizes, so what is safe and efficient for your co-worker or family member may be different for you. Ignoring those differences can lead to aches and pains, as well as permanent injury. While there are many elements to consider, from overall space to individual movement, the most critical is your computer set-up. For hand therapy to help with existing aches, Life In Motion Physical & Hand Therapy can help! For now, here are three starting points to assure your comfort and well-being:
- Height of chair and desk: Take a look at your desk and chair. Is the height of either adjustable? Most desks aren’t, so this is a good starting point to evaluate if your work space is fitting you. When typing, you want your elbows to be at about 90 degrees and your wrists “neutral” or flat. If you find you are angling your forearm up or down, change the height of your chair. This adjustment may require adding a foot stool, as you want to keep your knees at about 90 degrees as well.
- Monitor height: You want the top of it to be just below eye level. If the monitor is too low then you will end up bending your neck a lot and may have a tendency to slump your shoulders. You don’t need to purchase a fancy stand for the monitor; usually a full ream of printer paper will provide the needed lift.
- Wrist position: Are your wrists bending back toward you? Are the undersides of your wrists pressing into a sharp corner? Do you find the keyboard too narrow? There are a variety of ergonomic keyboards on the market – do yourself a favor and visit a computer store and try out several to find the most comfortable setup. Also, look for a “negative tilt” feature on a keyboard, where the keyboard can be adjusted to tilt toward the monitor and keep you from bending your wrists back when typing. Ideally, your wrists will be level and not pressing into the sharp corner of your desk.
For more information on reducing eye strain in an office environment, contact us today to schedule an initial evaluation in our Pinellas Park location and our hand therapy staff of caring professionals will return your call quickly!