Ergonomics is the science of making things fit people. It is a discipline focused on making products and tasks comfortable and efficient for the user. Below are some examples of ways that ergonomics can improve your productivity and comfort both at work and at home.
Avoid slouching in your seat. Sit up straight with good posture, feet flat on the floor, and hips positioned back in the chair. Avoid rounded shoulders and rounding your upper back. Try using a small rolled towel in your lumbar spine to help assist with posture and improve support. If watching TV or a computer screen, make sure the screen is in front of you, not off to the side or at an uncomfortable angle.
Lifting objects from the floor:
This technique is useful for any sized object that requires you to go from standing to floor level and back to standing such as lifting a laundry basket, grocery bags, or kids’ toys. Stand close to the object, squat down using your knees, keep your back straight and firmly grasp the object. Tighten your stomach muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine, do not hold your breath. Maintain as wide a base of support with your legs as is comfortably possible. Now stand straight up using your leg muscles as the driving force all the while maintaining a straight back.
Sleeping / Bed Mobility:
You wouldn’t think ergonomics is applicable while sleeping or resting, but you are wrong! For people with injured or sore necks, try using a small towel roll under the cervical vertebrae, not the head. This will provide needed support for tired neck muscles.
When lying on your back, avoid prolonged periods when your legs are in full extension. Use a pillow or two under your knees to provide support. Thishelps to avoid extra pressure on the low back that is caused by the weight of extended legs.
While lying on your side it’s a good idea to maintain a neutral spine from head to hips. To do this you should have adequate head/neck support from a good pillow. Bend your knees and place another pillow between them to keep your top leg from drooping down and touching the other knee, this helps to keep your spine in straight alignment. If additional support is needed a small towel roll under your hips and just below your ribs can be used.
Lying on your stomach can be tricky. Avoid twisting your head to one side while lying on your stomach, this adds significant pressure to the cervical vertebrae and can cause serious issues. Using a pillow under your hips and folded arms makes stomach lying more ergonomic.