Article by Dr Deepankar Dass - Physiotherapist
In last blog we have discussed guidelines & several ways to improve Posture and Ergonomics, especially for people who work sitting in an office chair for most of the day.
Before going forward let us understand what is ergonomics?
Most people have heard of ergonomics and think it is something to do with seating or with computers or laptops. It is...but it is much more! Ergonomics is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use. Ergonomics comes into everything which involves people. Work systems, sports and leisure, health and safety should all embody ergonomics principles if well designed.
Ergonomics has a wide application to everyday domestic situations, but there are even more significant implications for efficiency, productivity, safety and health in work settings.
OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) defines ergonomics as the science of “designing the job to fit the worker, instead of forcing the worker to fit the job.”
If we split into parts:
Ergon = work
Omics = study of work
Ergonomics is employed to fulfill the two goals of health and productivity. It is relevant in the design of such things as safe furniture and easy-to-use interfaces to machines and equipment. Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.
Ergonomics is concerned with the ‘fit’ between the user, equipment and their environments.
Why do some car seats leave you aching after a long journey?
Why do some computer workstations confer eyestrain and muscle fatigue?
Ask yourself have you experienced any kind of stress, fatigue, aches & pain by the end of the day when you go back home?
Today we will discuss only Seating Ergonomics:
The best way to reduce pressure in the back is to be in a standing position. However, there are times when you need to sit. When sitting, the main part of the body weight is transferred to the seat. Some weight is also transferred to the floor, back rest, and armrests. When the proper areas are not supported, sitting in a seat all day can put unwanted pressure on the back causing pain.
The lumbar (bottom five vertebrate in the spine) needs to be supported to decrease disc pressure. Providing both a seat back that inclines backwards and has a lumbar support is critical to prevent excessive low back pressures.
The combination which minimizes pressure on the lower back is having a backrest inclination of 120 degrees and a lumbar support of 5 cm.
The 120 degrees inclination means the angle between the seat and the backrest should be 120 degrees.
The lumbar support of 5 cm means the chair backrest supports the lumbar by sticking out 5 cm in the lower back area.
One drawback to creating an open body angle by moving the backrest backwards is that it takes one’s body away from the tasking position, which typically involves leaning inward towards a desk or table. The Variable balance is recognized as being the original modern kneeling chair, from which all subsequent designs have been derived.
Another way to keep the body from falling forward is with a saddle seat. This type of seat is generally seen in some sit stand stools, which seek to emulate the riding or saddle position of a horseback rider.
Another key to reducing lumbar disc pressure is the use of armrests. They help by putting the force of your body not entirely on the seat and back rest, but putting some of this pressure on the armrests. Armrest needs to be adjustable in height to assure shoulders are not overstressed.
Lastly I would like conclude that do not sit in one position for a longer time.
Our Responsibility? As professionals, we believe it is our responsibility to protect future generations against known injury risks, and to ensure that our children acquire good lifelong skills based on sound ergonomics practice.
I hope after reading this you got some idea about Ergonomics…Live Your Best Life