Department of Posture and Ergonomics

Posture Refers to “the carriage of the body as a whole, the attitude of the body, or the position of the arms and legs”.  It is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture is the position which is attained when the joints are not bent or twisted and the spine is aligned. Maintaining good posture involves training your body to move and function where the least strain is placed on bones, joints and soft tissues.

The term “ergonomics” is derived from two Greek words: “ergon,” meaning work, and “nomoi,” meaning natural laws. Ergonomists study human capabilities in relationship to work demands

Ergonomic principles:

  • All work activities should permit the worker to adopt several different, but equally healthy and safe postures.
  • Where muscular force has to be exerted it should be done by the largest appropriate muscle groups available.
  • Work activities should be performed with the joints at about mid-point of their range of movement. This applies particularly to the head, trunk, and upper limbs.

Good Posture:

  • Optimize breathing and circulation
  • Maintain the bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly and efficiently.
  • Help reduce or prevent the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative diseases, such as arthritis.
  • Decrease the stress on the soft tissues, such as ligaments, muscles, tendons and discs
  • Prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions
  • Prevent fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy
  • Prevent postural strain or overuse problems
  • Prevent neck or back pain
  • Prevent muscle fatigue
  • Contributes to a healthy image or appearance

Complication of Poor Posture and Ergonomics

In each of the areas of joints, muscles and nerves there can be effects of mal-alignment. These ill effects may start out as very slight, they may remain at a very low level, but if the cause does not disappear, they will get worse and may become intolerable and shear forces (that is, across rather than along) the spine may affect the discs, putting pressure on the nerves that fan out from the spine.

Muscles will suffer through lack of circulation, which may manifest itself as discomfort, ache or pain as well as lack of performance, getting tired quickly. The body’s healing process is impeded when blood-flow is restricted. The range of symptoms may be from discomfort, through tingling, pain radiation, pins and needles, hot or cold feeling or numbness to pain.

Tips for Improving Good Posture and Ergonomics

  • Keep your back straight, maintain all 3 natural curves in your spine
  • Distribute your weight evenly on both hips
  • Keep your head and neck aligned over your shoulders
  • Sit back in your chair; your back should be supported by the seat back
  • Adjust your chair height so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees
  • Be sure your feet are supported by the floor or a footrest
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time; get up from your chair at least once every hour
  • Do not twist or bend your back from a seated position
  • Identify the warning signs of back pain caused by poor ergonomics and posture
  • Keep the body in alignment while sitting in an office chair and while standing
  • Get up and move
  • Use posture-friendly props and ergonomic office chairs when sitting
  • Increase awareness of posture and ergonomics in everyday settings
  • Use exercise to help prevent injury and promote good posture
  • Wear supportive footwear when standing
  • Remember good posture and ergonomics when in motion
  • Create ergonomic physical environments and workspaces, such as sitting in an office chair at a computer
  • Avoid overprotecting posture

Reference postures

Upright Sitting: The user’s torso and neck are approximately vertical and in-line, the thighs are approximately horizontal, and the lower legs are vertical.

Standing posture: The user’s legs, torso, neck, and head are approximately in-line and vertical. The user may also elevate one foot on a rest while in this posture.

Declined sitting posture: The user’s thighs are inclined with the buttocks higher than the knee and the angle between the thighs and the torso is greater than 90 degrees. The torso is vertical or slightly reclined and the legs are vertical.

Reclined sitting posture: The user’s torso and neck are straight and recline between 105 and 120 degrees from the thighs.

 

The Department of Posture and Ergonomics at Canadian Medical Center have undergone extensive training with Work Solutions in order to partner with employers to reduce health care costs. For more information please Contact us today.

“A comfortable work space can help you feel your best at work”

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