One of the more common scenarios we see today as OTs (occupational therapists) is the poor posture and stress injuries that can result from professionals who spend hours each day at a desk, sitting on an office chair and working with a computer. Helping these patients modify and learn proper body mechanics can make a huge difference in their physical wellbeing and overall quality of life.
Here are some body mechanic tips to practice daily to promote physical wellness.
Body position: Your head and neck should be upright and facing forward. Body, shoulders and upper arms perpendicular to the floor and relaxed; not stretched forward or shrugged. Move closer to your desk and raise your chair if needed. Keep your forearms, wrists and hands straight and parallel to the floor. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor and lower legs perpendicular to the floor with feet resting flat. There should be space between your thighs and the table so you can get close enough.
Office chair: Your chair should support your lower back, with wide and deep seating, making sure the front does not hit the back of your knees. The seat cushion should be in good repair with a rounded front.
Keyboard: Make sure you arrange it so that it is stable, with your mouse nearby so you don’t reach. Do not rest hands or wrists on sharp or hard edges.
Monitor: The top line of the screen should be at or below your eye level so you are able to read it without bending your head or neck down. It should be at a distance that you do not have to lean your forward or backward; directly in front of you so you don’t rotate or bend your neck. Minimize glare from windows and lights so you don’t have to maneuver your body to see the screen.
Investing in the right equipment, proper setup of your workspace and being mindful of body mechanics can help you avoid back/neck pain, carpal tunnel and other aches. Building new healthy habits can start today, give it a shot!