Staying pain-free and healthy with good ergonomics

EH Shoulder Roll with nameIn 1964, the ideal weight (according to the Hamwi formula) for someone 5’ 10” was 165.3 pounds. In 1983, the ideal weight (based on the Robinson formula) for the same height person was 156.5 pounds. Today, the CDC sites a range of 128.9 to 174.2 pounds. Why the history lesson… because we… humans are a changin’ – and we are a learnin’!’

Way back in the dawn of modern day office work (1970s), OSHA and the experts determined that the average desk height should be 29-inches (this was based on someone 5’ 10”). Today, most furniture is designed around this concept. And this is fine in most cases because we can make chair and foot-rest adjustments. But those are the basics… how do we stay pain-free and healthy? Here’s how:

  • Be sure to incorporate a short (3-5 minute break) for every hour of sitting – whether at work, home, or while traveling. Many are using their smart phone timers as reminders.
  • During that 3-5 minute break, hang the arms straight down at your side for 60 seconds. That’s right, just let them hang.
  • Find your place of chair comfort. Is it sitting with your back supported by the back rest; unsupported sitting more forward on the chair, or is it a combination throughout the day. Just make sure your hips are at about 90 degree angles.
  • Remove the armrests from your chair – especially if they block your arm motions or prevent you from being close enough to your keyboard.
  • Integrate GREAT POSTURE! Head sitting upright on your shoulders, and shoulders over your hips.
  • Mix it up. Your base position of comfort is your go-to place… but it’s ok to occasionally hunch, or bend, or tilt throughout the day.
  • Fidget, wriggle, and squirm. A study last year suggests that fidgeting may “reduce some of the negative health effects” of a sedentary life.
  • To learn more:

    The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder, and Joint Pain, Anthony B. Carey, M.A., C.S.C.S.