Does Your Workspace Cause Your Aches and Pains?

Have you ever had a sore or stiff neck and shoulders after a long day of work, but were just sitting at your desk all day? Sustained postures are stressful on the body and do not allow the muscles that hold your body upright a chance to rest, even in a sitting position. Many work-related injuries every year come from poor posture, long hours, and few breaks.

Common Sitting Postures

When most people are sitting, they allow their muscles to relax and sink into the chair. They end up leaning forward, causing stress on the back of the neck and shoulders. They also often keep the body weight on one side, causing a strain in the low back and hips. People who spend time answering the phone or have multiple computer screens may spend a significant amount of time reaching or putting their shoulders and arms at risk for overuse injuries. The same is true for people who work strictly with one computer and spend all their time mousing and typing.

Proper Sitting Posture

What is proper sitting posture? The image to the side describes the seat and user positions, the computer and keyboard position, and has tips about tailoring it to your specific needs.

How to Organize Your Workspace

Is your workspace cluttered? Are you constantly reaching or digging through papers? Your main task should always be directly in front of you, and think about the position of your mouse, your computer screen, your telephone and your files. You should not have to constantly reach past a comfortable arm length throughout your day. Consider using a swivel chair if you still find yourself twisting or leaning often.

Use appropriate lighting to reduce eyestrain. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration and improve concentration. Take breaks to reduce eyestrain and muscle fatigue. Get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour or so to improve circulation and to clear your head. You will be more energetic, efficient and productive if you take care of your posture and your body.

Source:, BCCA ergonomic guidelines, WCB guidelines

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