Ergonomics — the science of healthy, productive workplaces

Ergonomics is a science based on the study of how easily workers are able to interact with and adapt to their professional environment. Its aim is to increase the health of workers, thereby increasing productivity. Ergonomically designed products for the workplace can include anything from office furniture to the visual interface on a computer program.

Ergonomics is an especially important component of the workplace when an employee experiences neck or back pain. This pain may be the result of a degenerative spine condition, such as facet disease or degenerative disc disease, a muscle strain or ligament sprain or soreness due to improper working conditions. Regardless of the cause, the professional environment should improve rather than worsen spinal discomfort.

Integrating ergonomics into your daily life

Below are products that can help in making your workspace more ergonomic:

  • Chairs. An ergonomically designed desk chair should conform to the natural curvature of your spine. It should also offer support for the lumbar (lower) spine. Some chairs even feature cervical (upper) spine support for the neck. Even if you do have an ergonomic chair, be sure to take frequent breaks to stand up and move around.
  • Keyboards. A keyboard with ergonomic features should be adjustable so that the user can change the slant of the keyboard to the natural flexion of his or her wrists. Being forced to type at an awkward angle can cause pain and stiffness all the way up the arms and into the shoulders and upper back.

Additional lifestyle changes that can reduce back pain

There are a variety of lifestyle changes that can help relieve neck and back pain. At work, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and walk around. Always maintain proper posture, whether sitting or standing. Refrain from lifting heavy objects — but if you have to lift heavy objects as part of your job, wear a back brace and practice safe lifting techniques. You also may want to avoid high-impact recreational activities that could worsen the amount of pressure placed on the joints and discs of your spine. Instead, opt for low-impact exercise like hiking, swimming or elliptical training.

Patients diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition as the source of neck or back pain are often able to find relief with conservative options and lifestyle changes, but surgery can become a serious consideration if weeks or months of conservative treatments have not brought the relief necessary for a good quality of life. Patients considering surgery should contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the benefits of our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery.

If you’d like to find out if you’re a potential candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to us today for your no-cost MRI or CT scan review.*