Ergonomics, Part I

If you have a job that requires sitting down, looking at a computer screen/tablet/phone all day (as most Americans do), then you may be experiencing “turtleneck” syndrome. It involves frequently having forward folding, slumped shoulders with the neck bent forward. This doesn’t just look unappealing, but it also can pose some health risks if this pattern becomes long-term as well. Up to fifteen pounds of pressure may be placed on the spine when the neck is bent forward, and it causes “static loading,” reducing healthy circulation. This issue may also be exacerbated by regularly looking down at papers lying flat on your desk and holding a telephone between your shoulder and ear without using your hands.

 Harvard Medical School has released some helpful tips on preventing these poor posture habits in the workplace.
  • First, all devices and physical paper documents should be placed at a comfortable viewing angle, vertically within a few feet from your face so that you don’t have to constantly look down at a flat surface.
  • Secondly, try to shift your weight and move your hands around intermittently instead of sitting still for extended periods of time.
  • Additionally, try to stand up and move around every 15 minutes or so during the workday. Unfortunately it may not be possible to leave your desk that often, but it can at least allow your body to periodically break out of its sedentary positioning.