What are the Injuries Caused by Poor Ergonomics?

How does ergonomics help you

For more information about what ergonomics actually is, head over to our Why is Ergonomics Important? page.

What are The Benefits of Ergonomics?

Many people ask about the benefits of ergonomics and it is a good question to ask, especially if you are suffering from acute or chronic pain.

It seems to be quite an impenetrable subject to breach; but also one that is incredibly important to your well being and general health.

Most people just carry on living ergonomically unsound lifestyles as a result of not having enough information or not being able to find a place that they can learn about its benefits, but this is a mistake and one of the reasons why I decided to start this website.

Background

Image of a normal office desk setup

Image by zoovroo

With around 60% of the workforce in the USA works in the service industry and it is safe to assume that many of these jobs revolve around working at a desk or in an office.

The health problems that arise from this sedentary kind of work is absolutely dreadful for our health. In fact even as I write this I am sitting at my desk looking at a computer! Luckily I have invested in a very high quality ergonomic chair and desk which have improved my productivity and quality of life immensely.

Whilst these kinds of products are not necessarily cheap, the money they can save you in medical bills alone are worthwhile, (not including the fact that you will be more productive at work and possibly benefit from increased pay)

How Does Ergonomics Help You?

Ergonomics covers a huge range of disciplines and there are many reasons why it can help you and improve your health. Find more about it right here.

I will list some of the major health issues that ergonomics can either help to soothe, or even prevent below injuries.

However this list is by no means exhaustive and there are other positive benefits to living ergonomically such as improved posture and increased confidence with the way you carry yourself.

Health Related Issues Caused by Poor Ergonomics

  • Bad posture – which can lead to:
    • Blocking your digestive system -Hunched shoulders can lead to poor digestion, sitting in a crunched position means that your intestines are folded up as well.
    • Affecting your happiness level – Poor blood circulation and slouching can seriously affect your mood and happiness.
    • It makes you look heavier – When you slouch over a desk all day your internal organs have nowhere to go but down and out.
    • It can cause spider veins – Prolonged sitting especially with your legs crossed and at a work desk all day, can increase pressure and also cause spider veins.
    • Increases stress levels – A study from Harvard University revealed that people who had good postures i.e. open shoulders and straight spines, had a 20% rise in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – This is a wrist injury which is one of the most common injuries caused by poor workstation ergonomics a workplace. This injury occurs from the lack of wrist support, such as when using a mouse on the computer or not having an ergonomic keyboard.
  • Back/ neck injury including acute and chronic pain – These can include from a herniated disc such as my mother had and needed major surgery to correct. It can also lead to more minor back problems; but problems that can cause great discomfort and pain.
  • Tennis Elbow – You need to play tennis to have this injury. Tennis elbow injury is an inflammation of your tendons in your elbow caused by the repeated movements when using your computer. According to the USA Labor Bureau, more and more of us are sitting behind a desk and working with computers, over many years this creates damage to the elbow and causes uncomfortable pain, especially when sound ergonomics are not considered.
  • Trigger Finger – Caused by repetitive movement of your fingers, such as clicking the button of the mouse and typing on a keyboard. There is also a new culprit, that of increased smartphone use. I often get pain from the injury in the joint of my thumb after using my phone for long periods of time.

How Does Ergonomics Help You to Improve and Even Prevent These Problems?

In order to alleviate some of these issues, you must make the decision to actively engage in an ergonomic lifestyle.

Observing correct ergonomics (click this) is a major factor in preventing the development of the problems listed above and choosing ergonomically designed home and office furniture is the best way to do this.

For me, buying the correct pair of running shoes as well as a special set of insoles just for running was what put me on the road to recovery from the shin splints I got whilst running.

By finding a special back brace for my mother and getting her ergonomic office equipment, she managed to reduce the pain associated with her slipped disc.

However, ergonomic living is definitely not a cure and you should not expect to eliminate every pain and discomfort you have. you should instead look at ergonomics as a way to reduce health issues and also to make certain problems less likely to happen in the future, such as back pain.

The way ergonomic products I bought, such as the ergonomic stool (click here) and ergonomic mouse and keyboard set for my mother and running equipment for myself are designed, helped to correct my bad posture. In other words, the furniture actually did the work for me by its clever design!

Summary

So then, you now see the importance of living ergonomically and I have hopefully answered the question, “how does ergonomics help you?”

Ensuring that you are practicing good ergonomics is one of the most important aspects for maintaining healthy joints as well as many other seemingly unrelated health issues like bad circulation.

Just like a good mattress is necessary for a restful sleep, so should be all the other things you use during the day. If you sit at your desk more than 1 hour per day, I would highly suggest that you need to practice good ergonomics and maybe think about using ergonomically designed products such as ergonomic chairs, ergonomics keyboards and ergonomic mouses to make your life more comfortable and to save your joints.

If some products may be too expensive, you should think in the long term and look at it as an investment in your health and happiness. You could also ask your workplace to invest in these products in order to increase productivity and workplace satisfaction.

 

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