You sit in a comfy office chair all day using a computer and answering phones. What could possibly happen, right?
Unfortunately, your office environment might not be as safe as you think. And you might be engaging in behaviors that are adding to the unsafe situation. Here at Watson Chiropractic, we see patients every day after common office accidents or for repetitive injuries that happen over time. We want to discuss a few of these injuries with you and give you some preventive tips you can put into action right away.
Sitting in a chair can wreak havoc on your back. Especially when you sit for long hours, use repetitive motions to complete your work, or have poor posture.
- Set up your workspace to keep your body and chair in a straight line with your monitor and keyboard.
- Position your mouse and keyboard close to one another at a comfortable height and a distance that avoids reaching.
- Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle when typing or writing.
- Choose a chair with a firm back support, adjustable height, and supportive armrests.
- Relax your arms at the shoulders. Avoid positions that push your shoulders up towards your ears, in a shrugging manner.
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor directly in front of your seat.
- Take several breaks throughout the day to stretch and walk.
- Consider purchasing an ergonomic workstation that allows you to switch between a sitting or standing position throughout your day.
Slips, trips, and falls
Falls are one of the most common workplace injuries. In fact, office workers are 2-2.5 times more likely to suffer from a fall than other workers. And falls can be dangerous too, requiring you to miss work to heal or receive treatment.
- Clean up spills right away.
- Post signs identifying any hazard, such as wet floors, areas that are being cleaned, or areas that are prone to standing water.
- Close doors and drawers immediately once you are finished with tasks.
- Report hazards -- such as electrical cords across walkways, spills, or loose carpeting -- to management or maintenance timely.
- If you see objects on the floor that shouldn’t be there, pick them up.
- Use a ladder for reaching items up high. Never try to stand on a chair, desk, or other office furniture.
- Don’t try sitting in your chair and reaching for items. If you can’t reach an object easily, get up out of your seat to retrieve it.
Sprains and strains
Your job duties may require you to pick up heavy objects. If you don’t follow proper body mechanics, these tasks can put you at risk for injuries, such as back, neck, or shoulder sprains and strains.
- Avoid twisting when you lift objects.
- Squat towards the floor and lift with your legs when lifting a heavy load off the floor.
- Use your entire hand when lifting objects, not just your fingers.
- Hold objects close to your body when carrying them.
- Keep your back in a straight position when lifting or carrying objects.
- Bend at your legs when setting objects down.
- If a load is too heavy, ask for help or find a cart to place the object on to make moving it safer.
Repetitive motion injuries
If your work requires you to complete repetitive tasks, like typing or moving objects, you might be at a higher risk of tissue injuries from these motions. Common injuries caused by repetitive movements include:
- Tendinitis - inflammation of a tendon, which is tough fibrous connective tissue between bones and muscles.
- Bursitis - inflammation of the bursa, which are tiny fluid-filled sacs that lessen the friction between soft tissues and bones.
- Take frequent breaks during the day when you perform repetitive tasks.
- Stretch your muscles often to keep them flexible and moving smoothly.
If you’re suffering from painful muscles or joints following an office injury, it’s time to get help. Our doctors at Watson Chiropractic are ready to assess and treat your symptoms and help you make the necessary changes to keep them from coming back.
Book your appointment online today or call one of our offices in SeaTac, Kent, or Tacoma, Washington. You’ll meet with one of our skilled chiropractors to get started on your holistic chiropractic plan of care.