Did you know the items you use every day in your home or workplace can be modified to make you more comfortable? This is known as Ergonomics and is defined as the way in which we improve movement and function within daily life. Ergonomics typically contains certain tools or body mechanic strategies that focus on maximizing efficiency and safety, in addition to identifying/changing factors that may lead to injury. At PhysioWorks, our physical therapists can use ergonomics to help resolve issues with pain you may face in your daily life, in addition to helping you prevent injuries.
To learn more about ergonomics and how it can benefit you, contact our Kent, WA physical therapy office today!
Why is ergonomic training important for me?
The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) states that companies in the United States spend at least $170 billion annually on occupational injuries. By simply implementing certain health and safety systems – which includes ergonomics training, companies could reduce their injury and illness costs by as much as 40%.
These most common work-sustained injuries are typically caused by poor posture, excessive sedentary behavior, and improper workspace setup:
- Back pain caused by injuries to the muscles, joints, or discs
- Tension headaches
- Cervical strain and pain (including a new phenomenon called “text neck”)
- Medial or lateral epicondylitis (golfer’s or tennis elbow, respectively)
- TMJ dysfunction
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve entrapment at the wrist)
- Trigger finger
- Rotator cuff strains and tears
- Tendonitis (inflammation in tendons)
Working on the ergonomics of your office can decrease your risk of sustaining these injuries, which can save a lot of money on medical bills, lost wages, and decreased productivity!
You can also implement ergonomics within your daily life, as well – everything from driving to playing sports to using your phone has room for modification!
What can I expect from ergonomic training?
Ergonomic assessment is a physical therapist’s or other specialist’s evaluation of a workplace and its furnishings, tools, and tasks in relation to the physical abilities of the worker. It is also known as work activities evaluation and treatment. Treating an injury symptomatically doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the injury won’t return. That’s why it is important to address the cause of the injury and find ways to fix it.
When you arrive for your initial appointment, one of our highly trained Kent, WA physical therapists will conduct a physical evaluation, in addition to reviewing your medical history and discussing your work/home environment. Our physical therapist may ask you questions regarding the set-up of your desk or office, the type of tools and equipment you use, the expectations and demands of your job, and/or a summary of your typical day. This will help determine what items may be subject to modification.
When focusing on ergonomics, the goal is to improve posture, energy efficiency, and body mechanics. This is done by making necessary adjustments, modifications, and changes to reduce and prevent further pain and injury.
For example, we may advise you on changing the position of your computer monitor or suggest setting a time to remind you to get up more frequently to walk around and take a break. In some circumstances, specialized devices or equipment modifications (such as splints or wrist supports) may be recommended as a way to make your daily tasks more comfortable.
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In addition to the ergonomic training we provide you with, it is likely that you will also be prescribed additional physical therapy services, depending on your individual needs. This may include any combination of targeted exercises and stretches, manual therapy, joint mobilizations, ice and heat therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and more.
Our professionals evaluate is and identify any risk factors that the worker may encounter while employed. By identifying those risks for injury and physical stress, the evaluator provides recommendations for modified design and practice. The ergonomic assessment and its implementation can help make the work environment safer and more physically efficient. It will also help reduce injuries and related expenses while improving the well-being, productivity, and morale of employees.
The desired outcomes of an ergonomic assessment are a quicker return to work by injured employees, a safer and more efficient work environment, prevention of future injuries, and increased understanding of safe work and postural practices.
If your work or personal life is causing you pain, it could be fixed with some simple ergonomics! Contact PhysioWorks today to request an appointment and find out how you can live your life comfortably!