Office workers who find themselves relegated to a single position for extended periods must often deal with painful or uncomfortable ergonomic issues that crop up. Some of these result from improper posture, inadequate equipment, a poorly designed workspace, etc.
Whatever the reason may be, these ergonomic concerns should never be ignored since they may have lasting implications for the employees dealing with them. How do you identify these issues and what to do about them?
Thankfully, you don't have to worry about this too much, because all the information you need is covered below. It's all well organized as a set of ergonomic problems and solution possibilities that you can investigate.
Common Ergonomic Issues for an Office Worker
Of course, you never want to have to deal with the negative effects of poor ergonomics in the workplace. Nevertheless, these are real problems that deserve to have light shed on them, so that people know what they can do to make their office experiences that much more comfortable and healthier.
1. Arm Stiffness
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects a significant number of persons in the workforce. The easiest way to identify it is by the weakness are tingling sensation that may progressively begin to emerge in your hand.
There is a nerve known as the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel, which is a passage in your wrist. When you have carpal tunnel syndrome, there is pressure on the median nerve, which leads to the sensations described above.
Once your hand and fingers start to burn, itch, or feel weak, it's a likely warning sign for this condition.
2. Visual Fatigue
Visual fatigue is another one of the most common ergonomic issues in the workplace. Typically, it occurs when doing long-running tasks that require consistent visual focus. As a result, some of your eye muscles progressively tighten, which starts to make you uncomfortable. You may notice that your vision begins to get blurry, or you may start experiencing consistent headaches.
If you're a person who spends a large amount of your day looking at screens, visual fatigue is likely the reason you experience these symptoms. It's even more common in persons that use multiple monitors.
3. Back Pain
Back pain could potentially be the most common of all ergonomic issues that office workers deal with. Low back pain is way more common than any problem in the upper back region. This is not normally something that comes out of nowhere and disappears in an instant. Instead, the pain may progressively worsen, and it even starts to affect office workers during their normal days while not at work.
Sitting for long periods in positions that do not promote proper posture is one of the leading causes of back pain among office employees.
4. Tennis Elbow
When you see the term tennis elbow, you may be inclined to believe that it's a condition that comes from playing tennis. While you wouldn't be wrong, any context that involves overuse of the muscles attached to your elbow can cause the problem. These muscles are used to straighten your wrist, which means you frequently use them in office applications.
When tennis elbow starts to take shape, there is a pain you can't ignore that may occur when bending or lifting your arm when holding small objects or when doing tasks such as opening jars or turning door handles. The pain tends to be centralized below the bend of your elbow on your upper forearm's outside.
Another one of the most common ergonomic issues that office workers face is none other than arthritis. The condition is characterized by tenderness and swelling in your joints. Unfortunately, the condition tends to worsen with age, which doesn't bode well for office workers who may be experiencing the problem in their elbow or finger joints.
When you're dealing with arthritis, you tend to notice redness, stiffness, pain, swelling, and a decreased range of motion in the affected joints. Osteoarthritis is one of two versions of the condition, and it's the one that tends to affect office workers. Unfortunately, the joint cartilage, which is supposed to cover the bones where they meet, wears and tears.
Solutions for Ergonomic Issues
Thankfully, the occurrence of ergonomic issues in the workplace isn't the end of the world. There are steps that you can take to mitigate the problems discussed above. What are these measures? Well, they are all covered in detail below.
1. Listen to Your Body and Recognize Changes
Whenever your body starts to feel off, it's typically a warning sign that something is wrong. Think of it like the error lights in a vehicle. Once one pops up, something is going haywire. Since you wouldn't ignore it in your car, you shouldn't ignore it in your body, either.
Whenever you start to feel off, or strange pains and discomfort take shape, you should effectively identify that something is different to begin to act.
2. Set up an Ergonomic Office
The idea behind ergonomics is to promote comfort and productivity by aligning your tools and your environment with you as best as possible. The tools and furniture involved are usually geared towards preventing ergonomic issues, such as those discussed above.
A smart office setup, including a standing desk and an ergonomic office chair, can go a long way in helping you feel better progressively. Once you learn how to stay healthy at your desk, things should become that much more comfortable. If you want to get started on your ergonomic office as soon as possible, Autonomous offers huge Black Friday deals on ergonomic office furniture and accessories.
3. Practice Exercise During Working
Another important thing to consider is to practice exercising during work. While you're not going to break out into a whole two-hour workout routine, doing simple exercises helps you ward off ergonomic issues, as they typically come from consistent strain. You can throw simple desk exercises into your work routine to protect yourself.
4. Take Breaks
It's hard to overemphasize the importance of periodically stepping away from your workspace to take a break. Get up, move around, and stretch for about five minutes. If you do this for every hour of work, you'd be amazed at how much of a difference it makes in fighting off ergonomic issues in the workplace.
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