It’s the sad truth: most of us need to work to make a living. Since that is not likely to change any time soon, it is important that we make the best of our work. That means not only should we seek a vocation that we love, we should also make our workplace as comfortable and supportive as it can possibly be. Enter: ergonomics.

Ergonomics is the science of how humans and systems interact. 

Simply put, ergonomics takes everyday items and tries to make them as comfortable and efficient to use as possible. This science is extremely important if you are suffering from back pain, either as a result of too much inactivity at work or as a result of an injury. Here are some of the ergonomic devices that can help with back pain:

Ergonomic chairs: We spend most of our work lives sitting down, and ergonomic chairs are built with proper lumbar support as well as all kinds of adjusting knobs and spools to set the chair to the proper height. The key to ergonomic support for back pain lies in the ability to make these chairs fit the sitter. One size does not fit all, and ergonomic chairs allow each individual to make changes based on their body and the support it needs.

Ergonomic mice and keyboards: These two devices help prevent strain in the muscles and tendons of the forearms and damage to the carpal nerves along the underside of the forearm by properly position the arm. An ergonomic mouse moves your arm to a sideways position to keep from twisting it, and an ergonomic keyboard keeps arms and shoulders in a neutral position. This helps prevent upper back strain.

Ergonomic keyboard trays: These devices position the keyboard lower than the desktop so that hands naturally sit lower or level with the elbows instead of reaching up. An ergonomic keyboard tray also reduces potential upper back pain due to strain and muscle fatigue.

Standing desks: We are faced with an epidemic of sitting in today’s offices, and a standing desk eliminates this altogether. When sitting, we tend to let the chair hold us up, not the active muscles in our abdomen or back, and this can result in spinal compression and pain, along with weakness in those muscles (which results in pain when we stand up, too). A standing desk keeps those muscles in the back and abdomen engaged and helps provide strong support for your spine. Some people report that as the blood circulates through their body while using a standing desk, so, too, does their creativity.

Today’s offices can be more supportive with just a few changes in furnishings and computing devices. Can your office take steps to make work less painful by using ergonomic devices?

Image by Mike Licht via Flickr

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