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Workstation Ergonomics

Reducing Physical Strain with Workstation Ergonomics


Workstation ergonomics is the fusion of science and art in designing the job task, tools, and equipment required as well as the favorable workplace environment to fit the worker.

It is critical in preventing recurring strain injuries which if ignored, may cause physical disability over time. It is important for both human physical health and productivity. And often, this starts with examining the way you sit or effectively, your sitting posture and corrective measures are made subtly to by using ergonomic chairs.

Workstation ergonomics helps you to understand how a desk-bound worker who spends at least 85,000 hours of her lifetime in a sitting position manages to prevent back pains and maintain spine health. Up until recently, not many people know that the sudden development of back pains and spine related ailments arise partly and simply from their prolonged incorrect sitting postures. Ergonomic chairs are designed to correct this.

To the company management, the key to recouping such investments comes in the form of enhanced productivity and a better bottom line. And many companies which embrace good workstation ergonomics have proven to achieve above 1000 percent in their 3 year ROI.

Not only have companies realized the importance of this, but many homeowners, especially those who have set up home offices are also beginning to convinced converts.

It is recognized that seated for long hours can be even more harmful to your body than standing. The key reason is that unlike a standing pose, the sitting position puts much more uneven pressure onto the back and spine area, causing uneven blood flow.

Using ergonomic chairs subtly correct your sitting posture, without exerting undue pressure or major changes to the neck, back, and spine. Some even come with lumbar support pillow for added support to the lower back and they have proven to be effective especially for those who have bad back pains.

What makes proper sitting posture. how to have a good sitting posture in relation to workstation ergonomics.

Sitting is more harmful than standing up, especially over extended long hours overtime, the reason being that unlike standing, the pressure is less evenly distributed across the body and is mainly concentrated along the spine, affecting smooth blood circulation.

The main cause of the back pain experienced by desk-bound workers are often due to the fact that pressure is concentrated at the lumbar region of the spine, or otherwise known as the lower back. When this happens, the blood flow which brings along with it important nutrients is blocked thereby causing the lumbar region to harden. That is what the lay person deems as having a stiff back. And this is exactly what ergonomic chairs aim to resolve.

Besides getting the best ergonomic chair to correct your sitting posture, you need to relearn how to sit upright correctly to reduce the compounded damage that has occurred to your spine.

the correct sitting posture.
Correct sitting posture.

Here is the correct sitting posture.

  • You need to sit up with your back straight, pull your shoulders back with buttocks touching the back of your chair.
  • Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips, keeping knees at 90-degree angles, and slightly higher than your hips.
  • Here is where you might need a footstool if necessary and keep your feet flat on the floor.

You can easily have a good sitting position if you follow this method. Simply sit at the end of your chair and lean backward. Then bring yourself up, hold for a few minutes and unlock the position at about 10 to 15 degrees.

It is important to note that regardless of whether you are using conventional or the ergonomic chair, if you wish to have good spine health, never sit in the same position for more than thirty minutes as being in a fixated position for long periods tend to affect blood flow and circulation about your body. Get up and move around, and do some light stretching exercises whenever possible.

How to further improve your sitting position on ergonomic chairs to derive optimum productivity, minimum physical discomfort, and maximum spine health.

  • When at work, you need to adjust the height of your chair to your workstation, pushing it close to the work desk.
  • It is preferable to have chairs that come with armrests for resting them and relaxing tired muscles.
  • A very common mistake that people make when moving in a swivel chair is that they tend to twist at the waist which could cause injury to it. Instead, you should turn with your entire body.
  • In addition, when you need to stand up from a sitting position, shift your body to the front of the portion of your seat before standing up. Use the armrest if necessary.
  • When standing up, take note to straighten your legs and never lock your knees. Do not bend forward at your waist as this could cause undue pressure on the lower back portion of your spine.
  • When standing, try to do some light stretching exercises that are beneficial to spine health.

Besides having a good ergonomic chair to help you with your sitting posture, you will also need to make certain minor sacrifices with regards to your sitting habits. For instance, when you experience lower back pain, often this is due to your lumbar region not being sufficiently supported, thereby exerting undue pressure upon the spinal discs. Apart from that, it is also possible that your dangling feet is not placed flat on the floor and your thigh muscles are pulling back at the spine. A few adjustments can be made to this situation.

  • Adjusting the height of the chair is the first change you can make.
  • Getting office chairs with backrest helps to tilt the back slightly forward is another.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase separately a lumbar support pillow to be placed at the lower back area of the chair, thereby ensuring that your spine curves in tandem with the shape of the support.

What actually causes tired neck, tensed shoulders and pain in the higher back is probably the fact that your head is overtly tilted forward or backward, and also the arms are not supported. It is easy to remedy these situations. Get ergonomic chairs with adjustable headrests or high backrests, and don’t forget to get them with armrests too.

And finally, if you feel pain in your buttocks, you have exerted too much pressure on it. You should sit deeper into the chair seat pan instead, or rather, simply stand up, stretch, take a break.

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