Focus on Improving Working Posture and Equipment Design
Ergonomic recommendations to curtail risk of back injuries; focus on improving working posture and equipment design. These include:
- Alter Posture – Alternate between sitting and standing to reduce postural fatigue and make the most of postural diversity, which helps to reduce static muscle fatigue.
- Use Support – When sitting or standing, don’t lean forwards or stoop in an unsupported posture for extended periods. If you are sitting, sit up straight or recline slightly in a chair with good back support, and use a good footrest if necessary. If you are standing for prolonged periods try to find something to help you lean against.
- Safe reaching – Avoid having to reach inelegantly to equipment and work close to the patient. Keep the objects used most frequently within a distance of about 20 inches (50 cm). Use assistants to help move equipment into this zone.
- Use Comfortable Equipment – Use equipment that isn’t too heavy, that can be used without awkward upper body posture and that feels comfortable to use. Ergonomically designed equipment helps to minimize stresses on the upper extremities and the back.
- Manage Time – Avoid long schedules where possible, or intersperse these with frequent breaks in which you alter posture and relax the back.
- Think about taking a walk on your lunch break. Be certain you have a good sitting position at work or in your car. Your knees should not be higher than your hips and make a habit of keeping your hips toward the back of the chair. This prevents slouching. Consider the use of a lumbar roll to keep a good sitting posture.
- If you are performing any activity that requires prolonged or repeated bending at the waist, straighten your back often and walk around. Intermittently perform a standing backward bending activity (place hands in the small of your back and bend backwards 5-10 times). This offsets the constant pressure in the back caused by bending forward and takes less than a minute to do every twenty to thirty minutes.
- After activity, avoid slouched postures immediately following the activity as your body cools down. Often, this is the time low back pain develops, not during the physical activity itself.
Dr Ajay Kumar,
Department of Orthopedics,
Apollo Hospitals Hyderguda,