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Better office posture might prevent injury or disability

For workers with back or neck injuries, chronic fatigue or inflammation, or a repetitive stress disorder, sitting eight or more hours each day in an office chair might be excruciating. To make matters worse, poor ergonomic posture or body mechanics might contribute to existing injuries.

In a worst case scenario, an individual’s pain and discomfort might rise to the level of a disability, requiring potential assistance from programs like Social Security disability insurance benefits. For individuals whose discomfort is still in the warning stages, however, a recent article provides some innovative advice.

Wrist and spine posture are probably the starting point. A coworker might be willing to take a smartphone photograph of a worker at his or her desk, in order for the worker to assess his or her spinal posture. Wrists should generally be floating and level, rather than propped on a desk. A split keyboard may also enable straighter lines from the wrist to the elbow.

Taking periodic movement breaks to stretch both legs and arms is also recommended. That could mean multitasking to find opportunities to get up and move, such as walking around the office while answering a phone call, sending jobs to a printer across the room, or emptying one’s own trash and recycling containers. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator might also help increase circulation and stretch sedentary and/or stiff muscles.

Perhaps the most innovative suggestion is a treadmill desk workstation. The equipment features a desk that can be raised to a height where a worker can stand -- on a treadmill -- while using the computer.  

Source:, “Tips To Stay Active In The Office,” Derek B., Sept. 24, 2013

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