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Ergonomic of Sit Stand Workstations

An ache in your lower back, a pain in your neck, a cramp in your leg ... it's hard to believe sitting at your desk can cause so much pain. Bad body posture and repetitive movements can cause almost every part of your body to hurt and every aspect of your computer workstation setup can impact your comfort level. Continually reaching for objects, tilting your head to hold the telephone on your shoulder and resting your wrist on the sharp edge of your desk are just some of the ways pain is invited to knock at your door.

Everyday tools in primary reach zone (18"-22")Less frequently used items in secondary reach zone (24"-36")

Seating
  • Feet flat on the floor
  • Straight forearm
  • Support for lower back
  • No leaning forward
  • Thighs straight or parallel to floor and/or 10 degrees higher
  • Head over shoulders, shoulders over hips
Monitor
  • Top half of screen at or above eye level
  • 18"-24" away (approximately arm's length)
  • 40 degree viewing angle
  • Clean screen
  • Minimize glare
Keyboard Mouse
  • Elbow parallel to keyboard
  • Relax fingers and wrists
  • Wrists, hands and elbows parallel to floor
  • Relaxed shoulders, no slouching

You're typing away and suddenly you feel a tingling sensation weaving through your fingers and all the way to your wrists. It goes away for a while but then the sensation returns for an unwanted visit, this time bringing pain as a guest.

It could be that your hands and wrists have fallen victim to Carpal Tunnel, a Cumulative Trauma Disorder caused by performing repetitive tasks. Inside the wrist is a small channel known as the Carpal Tunnel formed by bones, ligaments, tendons blood vessels and a major nerve. Repetitive motions can put pressure and constrict this delicate channel causing painful tingling and numbing sensations throughout your hands, wrists and even arms. A few key adjustments to your workstation can help you avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other discomforts associated with the keyboard/mouse setup.

  • The Carpal Tunnel

Inside the wrist is a small channel known as the Carpal Tunnel formed by bones, ligaments, tendons blood vessels and a major nerve. Repetitive motions can put pressure and constrict this delicate channel causing painful tingling and numbing sensations throughout your hands, wrists and even arms. A few key adjustments to your workstation can help you avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other discomforts associated with the keyboard/mouse setup.

  • Adjustable Keyboard Height

Use an height adjustable keyboard tray to ensure the keyboard and mouse are positioned at the correct height (approximately between 25" to 27" high for most people) and orientation (not sloping frontward). While seated, place hands on keyboard with level forearm and measure from floor to your elbow bone. That measurement is your ideal keyboard height.

  • Keyboard
Feeling pressure on your wrists? It could be that your keyboard is angled incorrectly putting strain on your arms and wrists. When using your keyboard and mouse, keep wrists, hands and elbows parallel to the floor. To obtain this neutral position, lower the feet on your keyboard to place the keyboard as flat as possible and avoid flexing your wrists. Adjust chair height and use a footrest if needed to keep feet flat and supported. Place the keyboard directly in front of you. Use a wrist rest for added comfort and to help avoid the sharp edges of your desk. If you are dealing with pronation (hands angled out and palms down) using a split keyboard that has an angled height may give you some relief.  
  • Mouse
Keep your mouse immediately to the right or left of your keyboard and at the same level. Relax your fingers, hands and shoulders. Program your mouse to a faster speed so minimum movement is required to relieve hand and wrist tension. This is done with an existing software driver usually located in the control panels. Consider using an upright mouse to address pronation. For additional relief use a mouse that will allow right and left hand mousing. rollermouse-red.png

           

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Reaching for things you use all day long can really have you contorting your body. A coffee cup placed awkwardly next to the monitor, a telephone at the far end of the desk, a daytimer always on the shelf behind you, reaching and stretching for commonly used items extends your arms and shoulders, twists your back and puts your muscles into a tight position.    

Work stations with surfaces that "surround" you are ideal for correct neutral zone ergonomics. A surround desk provides up to 25 percent more workspace than a standard rectangular desk allowing you to place everything you need within arm's length. There is also a secondary neutral zone for items you use less frequently such as file organizers, 10-key, and reference books. These items should be placed 24 -- 36 inches to keep items close and still give you workspace (bring items closer when in use).    

Sore shoulders, muscles, neck, elbows and lower back, you name it, reaching for things, affects your entire body. And the neutral zone doesn't just apply to your workstation, it applies to every activity you do. So start observing how you reach for things and remember the number one rule for items you use frequently -- keep 'em close!