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Creating an Ergonomic Work Environment

By Ameenah Lutfee 
Over 80% of Americans work jobs that involve computers.
On average, Americans spend at least 1 to 4 hours a day
on the computer. That doesn't sound like too much, but
just those few hours increase your chances of developing
cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) by 50-90%.

CTDs are caused by repetitive motions, excessive force,
vibration, awkward positions, and over exertion, and  
can involve nerves, blood vessels and tendons. They 
include such conditions as carpal tunnel, tendonitis,
tenosynovitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, and ulnar 

CTDs aren't the only thing we have to worry about. 
Over 10 million Americans visit optometrists each 
year to have computer use related eye conditions treated.

Let's face it. Computers aren't going anywhere. So you
can either adjust to your work environment and deal 
with whatever physical problems occur, or you can make 
your environment adjust to you.

Ergonomics is the science of work, or working correctly
in the modern application of the word. Working correctly
means adjusting your workplace to suit your body's 
physical needs.

Here are a few quick and practical solutions to making 
your workspace more ergonomic:

1. Neck - If your neck is sore or irritated, the problem 
might be with the height of your computer monitor. 
Make sure your eyes are level with or slightly below the top
of the screen.

2. Shoulders - Still, sore shoulders might indicate that your
work surface is too high. Try raising your chair height and
use a foot rest if your feet don't touch the floor. Your 
keyboard should be a little lower than your elbows when
your arms are relaxed at your side.

3. Wrist/Hand - To protect the hands and wrists, avoid 
forceful gripping, keeping wrists straight for typing or
tool use, and avoiding forward, backward, or sideways
bending. Type and write gently, don't pound, and always
rest the hands when keying or writing.

For those who spend long hours typing on the computer, carpal
tunnel is a serious risk. For more information on preventing
carpal tunnel, or to determine whether you might have this
condition, visit

4. Upper back - Here's one you probably heard from your mom or
grandma: Don't slouch! Re-check your upright posture every 20
to 30 minutes after standing and stretching.

5. Lower back - Sit with knees at or slightly below hip level
with feet supported. Stand and stretch every 20 to 30 minutes.

6. Eye Strain - Position the computer screen so that the least
light falls directly on it. Use a glare screen or a screen 
hood if necessary.

Want to make your workspace ergonomic? Healthcare 
educator and motivational speaker, Ameenah Lutfee,
offers detailed information on how to create a more
ergonomic environment. Get FREE tips, articles,
and advice at 
Or, contact
Ameenah Lutfee is also available for public speaking.

(This article maybe reproduced provided the author, is credit for the

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