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Ergonomics And Massage Therapy – Melbourne Office Workers’ Best Defence Against Work-Related Injuries

Office workers spend an inordinate amount of their waking life at work, poring over documents, finishing reports, and chasing sales quotas. People would often think that office workers have it good, sitting all day in posh, air-conditioned work areas while those engaged in labour-intensive sectors like mining and construction have to deal with back-breaking work on a day to day basis.

That is why it often comes as a surprise that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) have become prevalent even in the office setting. Among the injuries clustered under WMSDs are neck strain, shoulder tendinitis and bursitis, low back pain, hand and wrist tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.

It is not uncommon for office workers to report symptoms ranging from simple discomfort and fatigue to pain, swelling, stiffness, numbness and tingling. Computer-related tasks, general office work and lifting and carrying are among the most common reasons pinpointed by those who are injured, necessitating various types of treatments including massage therapy. Melbourne business owners and office workers should know that this is not just about getting adequate rest.

The Science of Work

Both business owners and their workers want to achieve a boost in productivity, employee morale and work quality while reducing employee turnover, tardiness and absenteeism. But before you call in a business coach, a few tweaks in the work area can pay significant dividends. This is where office ergonomics plays a significant role.

The word ergonomics often gets thrown around when discussing design, from gadgets to furniture. But what is ergonomics? Ergonomics, put simply, is all about studying how people work. Among the factors studied here are a worker’s physical and mental capacities weighed against his or her limits in the context of the work environment. Office ergonomics is an area of specialisation that focuses on the office environment.

Ergonomics means adapting the tools, equipment and even work habits to the worker and not the other around. Here are a couple of useful tips to lessen the risk of injuries in the office.

  1. If your work entails talking on the phone while performing other tasks, invest in a headset so that you would not need to cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder. This will help reduce neck strain.
  2. Monitors should be placed at an arm’s length, slightly below eye-level.
  3. To prevent tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome, the keyboard and mouse should be within easy reach. The wrists should be kept straight while the arms should be held close to the body. The hands, on the other hand, should be placed just below elbow-level.
  4. Office tools that are frequently used like staplers, notepads and pens should be within easy reach to prevent straining.
  5. In selecting an office chair to purchase, opt for one that provides adequate support to the spinal curves. But choosing the right chair is just part of the equation. Office chairs should be positioned correctly to allow an office worker to keep his or her feet firmly planted on the floor while keeping the thighs at a 90° angle.
  6. Desks should have ample clearance at the bottom, allowing free movement of the knees and thighs. If the desk is too high, a remedy for this is to adjust chair height and the use of a stool or a stack of books to compensate. Conversely, if the desk is too low, the height can be adjusted in height through the use of blocks.

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