MAHASKA COUNTY – Whether you sit at a desk each day or spend time on your feet at work, your body can potentially face a number of health concerns. MHP Occupational Therapist Aimee Wagner, OTD, explains how the proper equipment, positioning and activity can help reduce injuries and improve your overall well-being.
Ergonomics is one of the most common concerns in the workplace. “If you have a job where you’re spending a lot of time in front of a computer and sitting down, it’s easy to have issues with your neck, back and hips if you’re not in an optimal position,” Wagner explained. “Ensuring your keyboard, computer, desk and chair are in the best position for comfort and minimal strain can help alleviate those issues.”
You may also need to make small changes within your workspace to improve productivity and reduce eye discomfort or headaches. “Adjusting lighting to help with eye strain and frequent headaches, repositioning items to increase comfort and workflow, as well as minimizing auditory distractions can improve performance and comfort,” Wagner explained. “Reorganizing your work area to best fit your needs will not only make you more comfortable, but also increase productivity.”
Chronic health conditions can also be addressed with workspace changes. “For someone with arthritis or carpal tunnel, proper use of a keyboard and mouse can help minimize the effects of the condition,” Wagner shared. “The trick is to hover over the keyboard or mouse and allow larger muscles in the shoulder to perform the directional movements.”
For those in a factory or other setting where a desk is not involved, proper lifting and maneuvering is equally important to physical health. “Something as simple as shoveling can cause discomfort if not done appropriately,” Wagner explained. “Make sure to bend with your knees, not your back and ask for assistance whenever necessary. Workstations that can be adjusted for each person’s height and having chairs available for stand up stations can also reduce long-term strain to a person’s body.”
No matter what your work settings are, MHP Physical and Occupational Therapy can provide assessments to ensure your physical well-being. “We offer ergonomic evaluations that can help reduce chronic aches and pains as well as adjust workstations to accommodate various health conditions,” Wagner shared. “Little changes can make a big difference, and are often easily missed by employers who are constantly surrounded by the environment. By having an evaluation and making minor adjustments, you can have a more productive and happy workforce that is also healthier.”
Aimee Wagner is an Occupational Therapist at MHP. She works with patients to improve function in all daily activities. Her favorite part of providing therapy is being able to help patients reach their functional goals after injury or illness. If you are interested in an ergonomic evaluation or in need of physical or occupational therapy, contact MHP Physical and Occupational Therapy at 641.672.3306.
Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.
Story provided by Cassie Riley