Have ergonomically designed chairs. Otherwise your neck, shoulder, and lower back go for a toss

If you are relaxed, assuming that your chair has solved your posture-related problems, it is time you took a re-look at the posture, spine and the chair. Parag. A. Shastry, chief ergonomist with Godrej Interio, cautions that not all is well with either of these three if it is a sedentary job, and if the office is constantly upgrading electronically, but not ergonomically.

As offices are graduating from paperwork to computers, CRT screens to flat screens, desktops to laptops, and from thereon to notebooks and tablets, they keep throwing newer challenges to the posture and spine. If not tackled early, they could result in chronic neck, shoulder and lower back-related problems, Mr. Shastry affirms.

Those using a Tablet upright on a stand are better off than others who have to constantly keep their head bent to work on the gadget laid down.

A research carried out at the Harvard School of Public Health has revealed that Tablet users’ heads and necks were in more strained positions than of the users of desktops or notebooks, which eventually resulted in neck and back pains.

Strain on lower back

In another study carried out as part of the Wellness@Work initiative by Godrej Interio, the employees were found sitting on the edge of the chair to be able to reach their workstation, hardly ever resting their back against their ‘ergonomically designed’ chairs. The workstations were either flat-screen monitors or laptops with visibility compromised. Though they have the option of magnifying the screen for better visibility, the employees rather chose to move forward in their chairs.

One more habit that results in pain is the positioning of legs knee down. Most prefer keeping their feet tucked beneath the chair, resulting in constrained blood supply downwards. This too will result in leg and lower back pain eventually.

However, keeping legs straight gets at odds with maintaining eye-level with the monitor, especially when using a laptop or smaller device. As one lowers the chair’s height, one feels the need to bend the legs behind.

Neck bent while on work and improper monitor height are the possible causes of neck, shoulder and low back pain, Mr. Sharma says.Mr. Sharma traces the whole problem down to archaic office furniture not keeping pace with the technological upgrade.

A chair should ideally have pneumatic seat height adjustment, with adjustable lumbar and armrest. Cluttering on one’s desk and around the work place, too, should be avoided as it causes stress and reduces the manoeuvrability of hands.

Staff Reporter