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Because many people spend almost half of all of their waking hours sitting at a desk, it is important that your chair, desk and other equipment help your body maintain good posture and alignment. A healthy work station involves being aware of your seating, keyboard and mouse, computer monitor position and glare, telephone position, feet position, lighting and proper positioning of your work. It is critical to evaluate the proper set up of your work environment because it is often the cause of most repetitive stress injuries, such as carpel tunel.
Things like improper chair position, cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder, or straining your neck to look at your computer monitor is not a big deal every once in a while, but when you do the same repetitive motions for several hours a day, several days a week, several weeks a month and so on., you will find that your body eventually has to give and in many cases will suffer pain, discomfort, poor posture and spinal disc damage. Unfortunately, most people don't correlate these problems to their day-to-day activity because they think it has to be caused by a specific traumatic event. That's just not the case.
A support for your low back is essential to have in the chairs in which you will spend most of your time. Most furniture companies do not manufacture chairs that are actually healthy for you. Often they are hard rather than offering a cushioned seat, and the position of your spine is often very poor and sometimes even damaging. Think of having a lumbar support for your office chair, your car seat and your favorite reading chair at home. Another great idea is to have one that you can take with you when you travel on airlines. One day I hope to see airlines provide lumbar supports for people the way they do blankets and pillows. Why not ask the flight attendants next time you are on a flight? Tell them your chiropractor said it would make the flight much more enjoyable and less damaging to your health. If enough of us ask for it, perhaps one day they will get the hint. I recently discovered a terrific product called the Travel Back. It is a lumbar support that can fold flat and be carried in a briefcase or purse to be brought onto an airplane. It was brilliantly designed by my good friend Dr. Scott Donkin an author, chiropractor and ergonomic expert. It not only makes travel more comfortable, but much healthier as well. Dr. Donkin is an expert at ergonomic products. He consults for major corporations who pay him to make sure that their products are spine friendly and ergonomically correct. Another product Dr. Donkin supports is the Back Max. It's a product that supports you sitting in various positions on the floor so you can read, do homework, relax, meditate and more. There are many different ways to set it up so that you can change your positions often and still feel comfortable and supported on the floor. Another tool to help keep healthy alignment includes a special shaped support pillow that rests between your legs while you're lying on your side. Core Products manufactures the Leg Spacer designed to align your lower extremities in order to relieve pressure on your low back, hips and knees. It is very comfortable to sleep with and once again helps not only reduce pressure on your low back, it helps you get a better night sleep. Another product I like very much is the Back Vitalizer. It is a rectangular air filled low back pillow that you can use either behind your low back or you can sit on it. The product helps enhance the hydration of spinal discs, improves muscle blood circulation and helps to reduce pain while your sitting. It also simulates the effect of sitting on an exercise ball in that it activates your core muscles in order to stabilize your pelvis on the air pocket. Because of its simple design you can use it at work, at home, take it to sporting events, use it in your car and bring it on an airplane. The Back Vitalizer is extremely helpful for people who sit a lot and it feels remarkably comfortable.
The basics of a healthy ergonomic workstation include a bio-mechanically correct chair to sit in. It is best if it isadjustable to support your unique height and curves. Human Scale offers a variety of seating options designed to keep you healthy and well while you are working. Choose from a variety of models including the Freedom or Liberty. Not only are they healthy because they support your spine and are adjustable to offer a perfect fit for your body to work in, they are also beautiful award winning designs. You will notice them on the sets of many of today's most popular television shows. These products are an investment in your health if you sit at your desk often.
A great new cost effective desk chair is an exercise ball that sits on a stand. These are terrific and very affordable. These chairs actually help you strengthen your core muscles while sitting on them. It's like a workout while you're working.
If you talk on the phone regularly and for long periods of time, a headset is a great tool to prevent headaches, stiff necks and sore shoulders. If you really want a new and healthy experience, invest in a cordless headset. Being able to stand up, walk around and use your hands while talking on the phone is not only healthier, it helps you be even more productive. One of the most popular brands is Plantronics and we personally enjoy using them.
First it was great when computer monitors went from taking up so much desk space to the new flat panels but they are still on the desk taking up space and don't have too many ways to adjust their position to best fit a person's work station. Human Scale, a leader in ergonomic office furniture, offers a variety of computer monitor arms that can get your monitor off your desk. It is completely adjustable so you can move it around where you want to, when you want to. It's a brilliant idea whose time has come.
Many computer keyboards now include wrist pads as standard accessories. There are, however, ways to upgrade and enjoy the benefits of a liquid filled or foam pad designed to comfortably support your wrists while typing and using your mouse. If you are using a computer regularly, these are worth the investment.