Workplace Ergonomics- Let’s Address the Desk! Part 2 of 4

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human organs [Converted]

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, shares tips on how to design an ergonomic workspace! This is a four part series, today being part 2 of 4. We will be looking at the importance of choosing and utilizing a proper desk.

A thoughtfully-designed and properly-adjusted desk will provide ample clearance for your legs, proper placement of computers and accessories, and maximize your ability to maintain an ergonomic posture.

Here are three important tips to consider next time you are sitting at your desk or are considering purchasing a new one.

  1. Your desk surface should allow you to position your computer screen directly in front of you, at least 20 inches away.
  2. Be sure that when writing or utilizing your desk surface, you are able to keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows near 90 degrees.
  3. If the edges of your desk are sharp, and you find yourself placing parts of your arms or wrists on the edge often, placing piping insulation on the edges will soften the intensity of these surfaces. For this reason desks with rounded edges are preferred by many clinicians. Prolonged exposure to shard edges can lead to nerve impingement’s and circulatory issues. 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have the ability to address all of the potential variables that may be causing pain related to lack of ergonomic support and repetitive motion injuries that may occur at home or in the workplace. We specialize in working to find the root cause of your ailments, and correcting them.

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment. Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

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Desk-bound muscles scream for relief, here’s how

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 Grace Walker, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy agrees: Desk-bound muscles scream for relief, here’s how;

–from: Desk-bound muscles

Once upon a time, people were more likely to have jobs that revolved around motion. Now, many people have jobs where for at least eight hours a day they are chained to a desk with a computer. Often, people don’t realize the strain and stress sitting at a desk can take on the body. “Prolonged and static motion is your body’s enemy,” says Phillip Dimotsantos, a physical therapist at Kelly Hawkins Physical Therapy. “Our brain doesn’t really have a way to tell us we’re doing something wrong. There could be pain, but other than that there is nothing to say what we’re doing is incorrect.” He says this can result in ailments such as lower back problems, stiff necks or carpal tunnel syndrome. As a physical therapist, he offers tips for strengthening or stretching muscles even during workdays. He says stretches people can do at desks include chin tucks, which involve moving the head forward then back to a retracted position. People can also move their heads side to side, up and down or rotate them to stretch muscles and relieve tension. Another stretch is a shoulder blade retraction, which has someone pull his shoulder blades back to stretch them out. Workers can build wrist tension, especially from typing or writing all day. So Dimotsantos recommends using cheap tools, such as lacrosse balls, for self-massage and help with wrist pain. If people can get up, they should, so they can re-engage their gluteal muscles, he said. Ideally, Dimotsantos says, people should do these stretches every 15 to 20 minutes — they could take about a minute, maybe two. “The body can only tolerate a solid position for about 20 minutes,” Dimotsantos says. “I recommend clients set a timer as a reminder. So often, we get caught up in our work, we need a reminder.” Dimotsantos says it might be more realistic for people to do these stretches every 30 minutes to an hour. Even people don’t stretch, they can readjust their positions, he says. Dimotsantos says more research is emerging that focuses on the severity of sitting all day. He says an easy fix is to turn a desk into a standing desk, which would help keep the back from rounding out the way it does during all-day sitting. He added that workplaces can perform ergonomics assessments to determines whether workstations are appropriately set up for workers. Beyond stretches around the office, UNLV’s office of Risk Management &Safety has tips for producing a friendlier work environment. Work areas should be large enough to accommodate a computer and essential materials and should be high enough to give legroom. Chairs should be adjustable, which means height, armrests and backrest can be shifted. People should sit all the way back to use the lumbar support. UNLV’s office recommends adjustable lighting, too; workers should adjust the light and the glare of the computer to maximize efficiency. Specially designed keyboards can help support workers’ wrists. People using regular keyboards should adjust them so hands and wrists are neutral while typing, meaning the wrists should be floating while the elbows are supported. Wrist rests can also provide support. Other tips include taking a 1 to 2 minute break from typing every 30 minutes. Workers should try to rest their eyes by looking away from their computer screens and they should consider changing positions frequently. Workers whose jobs require constant computer use should have their eyes examined regularly to monitor changes. Contact reporter Michael Lyle at or 702-387-5201. Follow @mjlyle on Twitter.
For more insights on Desk-bound muscles, Call Grace Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center In Orange, California, 714-997-5518


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Posture Perfect

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Poor posture is a direct consequence of a modern lifestyle. Poor posture can add years to an individual’s appearance without the slightest hint to the individual. It’s likely that you may have poor posture and not know it, unless a physical therapist points it out. The causes of poor posture include:

  1. Habit: The unnatural posture of sitting at work (hunched over a computer), standing with uneven weight distribution, and leaning forward with a rounded back tend to add up and cause a permanent, unnatural alignmeWorkstationGraphicnt of the spine. Unless we remind ourselves to “sit up straight”, the “bad” posture becomes “normal”.
  2. Injury: If your back, neck or shoulder muscles have been injured, you may find it challenging to sit up straight. Injury or weakness in certain muscles can cause you to slouch due to pain.
  3. Stress: Undergoing physical and/or mental stress can be exhausting on your body. Many people, when stressed, switch to shallow breathing which directly affects overall body posture. This can happen quite easily while moving furniture and appliances, or by lifting heavy boxes, or even by picking infants, children, and toddlers improperly.
  4. Genetics: Unfortunately, poor posture can be passed from generation to generation.
  5. Shoes: Wearing comfortable shoes is essential for most activities. This is not just limited to to the gym, running, or sports, but for every situation that requires periods of standing, walking, or moving in general. Inappropriate footwear can to lead to generalized back pain, hip/knee pain, and postural problems.

The truth is – overcoming poor posture can be challenging, especially if its been a long time in the making. There are proper techniques for moving and lifting heavy items, and tips to keep you from getting injured:

  • Try to stretch prior to physical exertion.
  • When pushing, pulling, or lifting, always take advantage of the strength in your legs, taking special care not to rely on your back for power.
  • To lift a box, bend your knees and pull the box close to your stomach. If the box is on the floor, don’t bend over to pick it up; even light boxes pose a hazard if they are picked up incorrectly. With any activity, it is always a good idea to keep your back straight as often as possible.

Poor posture can also be an indicator of a more serious spinal condition, such as scoliosis, an abnormal spinal curve. Scoliosis may be present from birth, or it may develop over time, although in most cases, its true cause is not fully understood. Scoliosis can be very painful because it causes misalignment throughout the entire body, but it may be diagnosed as the result of rib, hip and shoulder problems, muscle variations in the back, or nerve dysfunction.

slouching people cartoon

Overall, the best way to prevent unwarranted injury is by using common sense and maintaining good posture. This is exactly where Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center can help you. Our team of experts can alleviate poor posture and help restore muscle balance and proper joint alignment. we also provide you with the tools and knowledge to maintain good posture for life!

Practice Makes Perfect!

If you experience aches and pains as a result of poor posture, a  good starting point is to try and connect your posture one day at a time. At work, place a small reminder on your computer, desk, or workspace to keep aware of your position, especially if you will be sitting for extended periods of time.image

Self awareness is part of the solution. If your body has found its  way into an unnatural “comfort zone”, remind yourself that each day you sit up straight brings you one day closer to relief. We will evaluate you to determine exactly what must be done to restore optimum posture and to relieve aches and pains, allowing you to function better and breathe more efficiently.

Physical Therapy as a Solution

Physical therapy is a proven solution for poor posture and associated aches and pains. Give us a call today and take advantage of our knowledge and expertise. We will teach you the right methods to correct and improve your posture and to continue to be “posture perfect”.

Our skilled staff will provide you with a precise, targeted exercise plan (and tips on exercises to avoid) to restore optimum posture. We will also teach you the correct ways to sit and stand, move and lift items, get in and out of bed and exercise/breathing techniques to minimize strain on your joints. So pick up the phone and give us a call. Good posture is what our bodies were designed for, and that’s exactly what we can help you achieve!

Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, Orange County, CA 92868

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