ERGONOMICS AND POSTURAL HYGIENE

 

Ergonomics is defined as the field of multi-disciplinary knowledge that studies the characteristics, needs, capabilities and skills of human beings, analysing those aspects that affect the design of environments, products and production processes. In all applications there is a common goal: an attempt to adapt products, tasks, tools, spaces and the general environment to people's capacity and needs, so that efficiency, safety and wellbeing are improved.   

The goal of postural hygiene is to prevent or reduce musculoskeletal injuries caused by static postures and incorrect movements, repetitive movements or muscle overloads. It helps patients to be aware of their posture and most common movements so they can modify and improve them. Posture is the way in which we hold our bodies whilst seated, standing, lying down or moving. We all have somatic, psychological and genetic components. Postural re-education almost always begins by breaking old habits and movement patterns through people's active participation. This entails working on proprioceptive sensorial education, active control and awareness of the postures and movements themselves and working on functional re-education in order to rebalance the musculoskeletal system and neuromuscular control. 

 

  Self-care strengthens our wellbeing  

  

   • Be aware that it is “incorrect" to lean/bend over the computer and back pain lets us know when we have our shoulders shrugged and our head stuck close to the keyboard.

   • Keep the back straight, against the chair back, which should have an ergonomic design which means that we have the pelvis area active, as this is our motor.           

   • Put the computer screen in front of the user to prevent neck twisting, which will cause pain in the short and medium term. The horizontal line of sight should be in line with the upper part of the screen, experts say.  

   • Feet must be supported on the ground to improve venous return. It would be ideal to put them in a resting position, stretched as far as possible. To do this it is recommended that desks should have sufficient space underneath and if there is a foot rest, even better.

   • People are usually right-handed and lean to the right side without thinking. To balance this, it is recommended to use your left hand on the mouse. This habit can be learned in three weeks.

   • Put documents in a stand to prevent cervical problems. Wrist supports on the lower edge of the keyboard partially help to make the activity more comfortable.                

   • Take active breaks every 60-90 minutes to stretch muscles. Experts speak of taking "compensatory micro breaks" for a few seconds, whenever you feel any problem, however small. This is better than waiting for the "major pain" to interrupt the task/activity being carried out. 

 

   Incorrect criteria   

 

      Perception and appreciation.

 

The most common mistake made when buying a chair is connected to perception and appreciation and is usually linked to ignorance by users about what their bodies really need, where the brain, in a first false feeling of comfort, tricks us with a feeling of comfort for a large cushion on a seat for work. Assessing according to the user's height/weight requirements, the feeling of having the back held by the usual lumbar supports and regulations that are so much in fashion and are always talked about by out-dated professionals in the latest studies and advances is the most unreliable criteria for selection.    

       

     Buying from inappropriate places. 

 

Going to large hypermarkets, stationery outlets, websites that at their discretion simply sell products with camouflaged brands is not recommended. These are not professionals and in most cases products either do not comply with the current regulations on ergonomic and environmental safety or are of doubtful origin. The life span of foam materials and mechanisms for these chairs or easy chairs is very short because of their low quality.        

Do not be taken in by false sales arguments or merely aesthetic aspects which will not help your health and safety when working in front of a computer.