ergonomicsThe average American spends 8.7 hours at the office. So it just makes sense to make sure your desk and computer don’t make you feel bad.

 If you don’t, you can get these problems:

•    Back pain
•    Headaches
•    Neck pain
•    Neck & shoulder tension
•    Tendinitis in the wrist and forearm
•    Carpal tunnel syndrome
•    Sciatica

 What can you do to avoid those?

Sit up straight.

Do you sit with your head leaning toward the computer? This causes extra tension in the upper back, mid back and neck.

Over time, this will cause these muscles to tighten up. Shorten. Then cause pain.

A simple way to prevent this is to place a pillow or rolled up towel behind your lower back on the chair. This not only supports your lower back but also helps bring your shoulders into a normal alignment.

Feet should stay on the floor. Hips on the same level as your knees. & rest your arms on the chair’s armrests.

Position your desk & computer.

Keep your wrists flat, not bent, on the desk and keyboard. Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle.

Relax your shoulders. Don’t shrug them.

The top of your screen should be at your eye level an arm’s distance away. Avoid computer glare.

A headset instead of a telephone can help avoid neck strain. If you are going to hold a phone, don’t rest your elbow on a desk with your head leaning over. 

If you start feeling uncomfortable, switch hands. Hold the phone in the other hand.

If you feel tingling, get a good stretch by making the okay sign with the thumbs and forefingers of both hands. Then rotate outward and upward, using the circles you make with your fingers as “eyeglasses” for your eyes. Your fingers will rest on your face. You’ll also be able to see your palms with your elbows out in this position.

Use good lifting techniques.

Bend your knees and squat down to lift things up.

Don’t twist or bend while lifting. Keep the object as close to your chest as possible.

Avoid lifting or bending first thing in the morning. Or if you’ve been sitting a long time.

Take breaks every 20 minutes.

Our bodies aren’t meant to stay in one place for long. Get up and walk around. Stretch.

A 30-second “break” can help avoid repetitive strain and muscle fatigue, which can lead to joint, nerve or disc injury.

If you make your office ergonomically friendly, but you still have pain, consider acupuncture.

Robert W. Ferguson, D.C., F.I.A.M.A., state-licensed chiropractor and acupuncturist, sees patients at 2250 W. 86th Street, Ste. 100, on the north side of Indianapolis by Metro Diner. Just look for the orange sign.

Chiropractic Rehabilitation & Acupuncture now accepts Healthy Indiana Plan for chiropractic services, and most insurance for chiropractic therapy and acupuncture.

Dr. Ferguson also offers a noninvasive low-energy or low-level laser therapy that is Food and Drug Administration approved for temporary pain relief. But most insurance plans don’t cover it just yet.