If you are a part of the 86 percent of Americans that have a desk job, you have probably heard about the need for an ergonomic workstation. While having an ergonomic workstation is the best way to fight carpal tunnel syndrome and sedentary diseases such as deep vein thrombosis, some people think that it requires sitting perfectly straight or having a lot of specially designed peripherals. Here are four ways to maintain an ergonomic workstation while also staying comfortable.
Avoid a Rigid Posture
A quick web search for "ergonomic workstation" will turn up several diagrams that depict a computer user sitting with their back and legs at a perfect 90 degree angle. However, sitting with such a rigid posture can actually put unnecessary strain on your spine. You should recline your chair slightly so that the angle between your back and legs is between 100 and 110 degrees.
It is also important that you choose an office chair that has proper lumbar support. This will prevent your lower spine from coming to rest with a positive curve that can cause strain and injury over time. If your office chair does not have built-in lumbar support, your next best option is to place a small cushion between your lower back and the back of the chair.
Your Armrests and Desk Should be at Equal Heights
Typically the most comfortable configuration is to have both your desk and your armrests at elbow height. Keeping your desk at elbow level will guarantee that there is clearance for your knees underneath when your feet are resting on the floor or a footrest. It will also prevent strain on your shoulders, forearms and wrists that is caused when your desk is at a different height than your armrests.
With your armrests at elbow height, it will be much easier to rest your arms on them temporarily while you are taking a break from typing. It is not a good idea to leave your arms wresting on your armrests permanently, as this can compress nerves and muscles in your forearms, causing nerve damage long-term.
Keep Your Monitor at Eye Level
To keep a healthy posture in your neck, it is important that your monitor is aligned correctly. Your line of sight should be a couple inches lower than the top of the monitor so that you can easily view the entire screen without having to strain your neck upward or downward. It will be easier to view the entire screen without turning your neck if your monitor is approximately an arm's length away from you.
Your monitor should be horizontally centered on your field of vision so that you do not have to maintain a twisted neck posture to view it. An exception is if you will spend most of your time using a program that aligns text, graphics or other data to the left or right of the screen. In this case, your vision should be centered on the section of the screen that you will be viewing most often.
Keep Your Wrists Parallel to the Floor
An improper wrist angle while using the computer is one of the most common causes of repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrists. Without keeping your wrist rigid, it should remain straight and in a natural position at all times while you are using your computer keyboard.
To maintain a natural position, do not use any keyboard stands that angle the keyboard, instead keeping it flat on your desk. You should also avoid using a wrist rest that flexes your wrist while you are typing. These rests are alright to use when you are taking a break, but they keep your wrists at an unhealthy angle if used in conjunction with the keyboard.
Protecting yourself from sedentary diseases is not impossible even if you work a full-time desk job. Keep these guidelines in mind to remain comfortable and healthy while you are working in your office. Check out websites like http://www.DandROfficeWorks.com for more information.Share