Body Postures And You – IV

Concluding our four part series that highlights the need for ‘Ergonomics’ to curb work related injuries and illnesses, Orthopaedic Specialist and Sports Physiotherapist- Dr. Zahra Hussain points out the importance of ‘Force’ and ‘Time’ and its implications in our routine office life.

Undisciplined office related activities include working in awkward positions for hours without taking proper breaks. These ‘non-ergonomic’ activities lead to innumerable Musculo-Skeletal Disorders (MSDs) and hence, it is necessary to take a reasonable amount of time out for yourself in between any monotonous or repetitive work. Another major concern for MSDs is ‘pressure’ or ‘force- applicable’ jobs. Punching or stapling pile of papers, shifting or moving objects, comb-binding, are some tasks that require application of force and pressure. Indulging in such manual labour for long periods at a stretch are major causes for MSDs.

Thus, it is necessary to implement a few steps and technique that help reduce application of force and offer necessary intervals.

Steps to minimize forceful work:

  • Avoid resting your wrists against a desk edge.
  • Do not over-fill file drawers.
  • On large projects, consider mechanized alternatives to manual comb-binding, stapling or manual physical tasks that are highly repetitive.
  • Follow safe lifting practices at all times.

Steps to manage time:

  • Take adequate breaks from work.
  • Change position of work every two to three hours.
  • Stretch your key muscles regularly to avoid spasms and stiffness.

An Overview of the entire ‘Body Postures And You’ Series:

  • Minimize ergonomic-risk factors.Pay attention to your body and know your physical limitations.
  • Make use of an ideal chair at your workplace.
  • Follow the correct procedure while lifting heavy/light objects.
  • Rest your arms and wrists well while indulging in repetitive work (operating the keyboard, mouse, etc).
  • Stretch and change positions throughout shifts or before/after activities.
  • Make use of alternative technological options if available.
  • Report ergonomic issues through appropriate channels.

Remember, ergonomic injuries are preventable by being conscious and maintaining the right posture!

Dr. Zahra Hussain
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