Did you know that more than two-thirds (68%) of working Americans use a computer at work? As a result of the explosion of computers as a necessary tool for our communication and work environment, we are experiencing physical strain on the body. This is a result of improper ergonomics when it comes to the proper way to use a computer through our sitting, location of the keyboard and amount of breaks during the day.
Working at a computer can contribute to back, neck and shoulder pains, eyestrain and overuse injuries of the hands and wrists. There can be a reduction in circulation to the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments and can result in stiffness and pain. Symptoms of overuse injuries in the upper limbs include pain, swelling, stiffness of the joints, weakness and numbness. The risks can be reduced or eliminated with proper workstation design, improved posture and good working habits.
Poorposture, lack of proper equipment and incorrect ergonomic information are all contributing factors to an improper computer setup station. Working at a computer can cause a lot of distress in a number of different parts of the body.
Here are some key points:
Ergonomics should be based on facts, research, experimentation and theory using body mechanics as a base line for your work station
Ergonomics is personal and what works for someone else may not work for you
Keyboard height and angle should be set properly. In the proper position, the keyboard should be placed just above the level of your lap. This is lower than most people normally place their keyboard, but let’s your arms tilt downward while using the keyboard, leaving your elbows at a comfortable "open" angle.
The keyboard should never be placed on top of your desk
Monitor should be at eye level
Do not sit in an upright, rigid position
Do not lean forward, this causes lower back strain and upper shoulder constriction
Do not work for long periods of time without taking a break, stretching and moving around. This will prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis
Do not use task lighting at work
A mix of incandescent and fluorescent lights reduces flicker and provides good light color. This prevents squinting and straining face muscles as well as reducing the potential for headaches
Do NOT use the keyboard supports to raise the back up. Do NOT tilt the keyboard tray so that the back of the keyboard is higher than the front.
Do NOT use a wrist rest while actively typing. It’s meant to rest on not to lean on when working.
Place the mouse on the same level as and immediately next to the keyboard tray
Keep the mouse in the arc line of the keyboard so that you can reach it when rotating your arm from the elbow
Do NOT use a wrist rest while using the mouse. Your forearm needs to be free to move so you do not strain the wrist.
Chair and Posture
Adjust the height of the chair so your feet can rest completely on the floor
Allow 1-3 inches between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees
Use a high back chair that supports your shoulder blades if at all possible
Don’t keep your feet flat on the floor. Move them around often. Use a foot rest if you have one, but only part of the time. Do NOT cross your ankles.
Let your upper arms hang naturally from your shoulders.
Keep your wrists straight
Take frequent breaks. 10 minutes for every hour of work and 30 second micro-breaks every 10 minutes is a good schedule.
Making the Most of a Massage
Recent studies have pointed to both the physical and mental health benefits of massage. Some of the these benefits include:
Reduced inflammation caused by muscle damage from exercise
One hour Swedish massage weekly reduces knee pain in people with osteoarthritis
Improvement in pain relief for chronic low back pain
Relieves anxiety, mild depression and stress
A typical massage session may last from 15 minutes up to 90 minutes. The different kinds of massage are:
Deep Tissue massage
Trigger Point massage
Reflexology for hands and feet
Your massage therapist should be trained at an accredited institution and should carry malpractice insurance, though not all states require it. Look for credentials such as CMT (certified massage therapist) or LMT (licensed massage therapist).
It is a good idea to talk with your massage therapist about what your goals and intentions are from the massage. There are many contraindications so it is very important to inform your massage therapist about your medical history, any prescriptions you are taking and ALL symptoms you are currently experiencing.
Just as with any professional, you will want to feel comfortable with your massage therapist. You have the option to undress to your comfort level and whether or not you want lotion or not. Music is always a good addition as it helps the body relax and takes your mind off the issues you are having. There is a term called “EDGE” in massage therapy where on your pain scale you should not allow the therapist to go past your pain scale of a 6 (on a scale of 0-10). This ensures your muscles will be able to heal with unnecessary pain or soreness from the massage. No pain, no gain is not always the best course of action with massage.
Here are some helpful massage Do’s and Don’ts:
Ask whether the therapist is trained in a particular type of massage
Tell the therapist about any conditions or injuries that you have
Ask about the number of treatments that might be needed and their cost
Ask whether the therapist is licensed or certified to practice in your state
Ask about any possible side effects of massage
Find out the difference between Deep Tissue massage and Swedish massage
Opt for a massage over seeking medical advice
Get a vigorous massage if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking a blood thinner such as Warfarin
It is against massage protocol to massage over any open or healing wounds, blood clot or fracture
Get a massage within the first 24-48 hours of an acute injury. There may be swelling and other issues that massage can make worse or impede in the natural healing process
Get a massage in the first trimester of a pregnancy
Choose a massage without first consulting your doctor if you have high blood pressure or osteoporosis
Continue massage if you experience serious pain, numbness or tingling or feel unwell during a session. (It is common to feel some tingling or warmth as the muscles are releasing; however, if it is painful, then it is best to stop immediately)
To locate a certified Massage Therapist, go to the American Massage Therapy Association at findamassagetherapist.org (877-905-2700) or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork at ncbtmb.org (800-296-0664).
Click here to book your appointment. Thank you for visiting our Web site. Balance Point has been providing quality service in the Honolulu area for over 14 years. We specialize in therapeutic massage and pain relief . Count on Balance Point Health Center for your needs