MAKE YOUR CAR SEAT MORE ERGO FRIENDLY…..

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Check the below BEFORE you drive your vehicle….

Car Seat

  • Seat setting:
    • There should be enough headroom so you do not slouch or bump your head if the car hits humps or potholes
    • Seat should support the full length of your thighs and all parts of your back. Use a neck/head support if needed and support your neck (Note: Not shown in the picture).
    • When the seat is properly adjusted:
      • You should be able to reach the pedals, steering wheel and other controls without (or with minimal) stretching the legs and arms.
      • You should have a good view of all the mirrors, and a good vision through the front and side windows.
    • Sitting too far or too close to the steering wheel may reduce your control over the vehicle (maintain ~10-12 inches distance between center of the steering wheel and your sternum).
    • There should be about 2-3 fingers width in the space between the front of the seat cushion and the back of your knee. If it is too long, it will exert pressure on the back of the knees and may impede proper blood circulation in the legs.
  • Seat cushion:
    • Seat cushion/cover should be made up of thermal comfort (breathable) material.
      • Horizontal ribbing on the seat cushion can help to prevent you slipping forward and vertical ribbing in the back can help to prevent sideways movement.
    • Avoid placing items in your back pocket as this can cause the pelvis to twist.
  • Seat Belt:
    • Seat belt should be adjustable such that the belt rests on the middle of the collar bone (clavicle) rather than on neck.
    • As mentioned above, you should have sufficient room (~25 – 30 cm or 10 -12 in) between the steering wheel and your sternum for the seat belt and air bag to provide the maximum safety protection.
    • Seat belt should accommodate you, especially when you wear winter coat.

“Don’t let yourself sink any deeper”

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 Sink

  • Reaching into deep sinks or containers:
  • If you have to wash dishes, lab wares, laundry or to work in maintenance areas using a deep sink, limit excessive reaching and back flexion.
  • A couple of simple ways to do that:
  • By placing an object such as a plastic basin in the bottom of the sink to raise the surface up while washing items in the sink

OR

  • By removing objects to be washed into a smaller container on the counter for scrubbing or soaking and then replace back in the sink for final rinse.

‘Lifting an object safely’ is lifting a ‘World cup for health’

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Guidelines for Safe Lifting:

Lift

  • When lifting a load from the floor, keep your back in its neutral/straight position.
  • Grip the object with hands, rather than only with your fingers.
  • Draw the object close to your body (holding elbows close to the body) to keep the load and the body weight centered.
  • Lift by straightening the legs (by using leg muscles, not back!)
  • Tighten stomach muscles to help support the back and maintain a neutral back position as you lift.
  • Avoid: twisting, bending forward (> 200) and bending sideways while lifting. When turning with a load, turn the whole body, feet first!
  • Never carry a load that blocks your vision.

Sofas at home to sit should provide ergonomic comfort…

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Sofa

Similar to workplace ergonomics, home ergonomics is important and there are items in nearly every room that need to be designed ergonomically. Sofa in the living room is one of the important items where we tend to sit for long.

  • When you are sitting, you place an enormous pressure on your back; a few times your weight even. Having a back rest helps as it relieves some of the weight and burden on your back.
  • Sofa shouldn’t be too soft. If your sofa is too soft, you’ll find yourself sinking in. This causes too much pressure on your hips. It is of high risk especially for elderly people who have fragile hip joints. For them an ergonomic chair where they can sit upright with a seat cushion will be more comfortable (and feet on the ground to minimize efforts in getting up).  When you sink in sofa it creates extra work and tension to get off it.
  • It is important for the sofa not to be too low, causing your knees to bend less than 90 degrees. If it happens subconsciously you’ll sink in and stretch out your legs to maintain that 90 degree angle of your knees!
  • It is advised not to sleep on the sofa (especially in acquired postures) rather, you should move to your bed.

Over time, sitting with poor posture can cause multiple problems. Just mix up your positions regularly and don’t stay in one posture at home for too long.

Courtesy:

http://www.ergonomics-info.com/home-ergonomics.html

So Many Gadgets, So Many Aches!

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LOOK around, they’re everywhere: hunched shoulders, angled necks and wrists, hands twisted like claws.

As people harness their bodies to use more electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets in more places (at work, at home and in trains, planes, hotels and coffeehouses etc.) they may unknowingly be putting themselves at a greater risk of injury. Too much of this activity is bound to take a physical toll.

  • By positioning themselves improperly, people are at greater risk of eye strain, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, to name just a few ailments. Repetitive actions that lead to overuse of muscles and tendons can inflame them, causing pain in the hands, shoulders, neck and back.

Minimize usage of above devices as much as possible.

  • Laptops if used without docking stations are adding to these problems because they do not meet any of the ergonomic requirements for a computer system.

Minimize usage of laptops without docking stations.

  • Another lurking danger is touch screens! The drumming of fingers against screens can lead to soreness.  Thumbs are more vulnerable than fingers because they have two bones instead of three. Texting has led to an increase in a condition known as De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, where the tendons become so inflamed that it becomes painful to move your thumb, affecting your ability to hold things.

For that reason, tablet and mobile phones should not be used heavily for typing. Text only when it is really needed…

  • These devices have increased greater mingling of work and personal life which is placing more stress on the body. It can also make it harder to pinpoint what is causing a new physical problem. Mental stress can cause you to tense your muscles, aggravating any existing physical stress!

Good to maintain work life balance.

  • If you are hunched over while working, something is wrong!

Look for the things that are pulling you forward and fix them. Sit back in your chair, keep your back straight. Support your feet if needed and make sure your arms are relaxed as you type. Check the monitor/screen position to avoid strain in neck and eyes, enlarge the font size if necessary. If you need help please contact ergonauts.

  • Be aware of these factors and try to approximate them as much as possible when you aren’t at your primary workstation.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Separating yourself from your machines (as long as possible) gives your muscles, and your mind, a rest that they richly deserve.

Courtesy: Modified from- The New York Times

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/e/ergonomics/index.html

Muscle Cramps-Causes and Prevention (Contd…)

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What Causes Muscle Cramps?

Nutrient Deficiencies:

  • The 4 main electrolyte minerals are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals play a direct role in muscle activity. Deficiency in one or more of these can lead to cramping, especially if the body is deficient during exercise. This is one of the leading causes of cramping.
  • The RDA for sodium, potassium, Magnesium and calcium is 2400, 4700, 420 and 1000 mg/day respectively.  Sweet Potatoes (much of the mineral content is in the skin), Potatoes (much of the mineral content is in the skin), Bananas, Carrots, Many kinds of fish, Beets & Beet Greens, Squashes are rich source of potassium. Pumpkin, Nuts, Halibut, Pollock, Yellow fin Tuna, Quinoa, Oat Bran, Buckwheat, Beans are source of magnesium. Fortified dairy products, Sardines, Tofu, Spinach, Soybeans, Turnip & Beet Greens are source of calcium.

Dehydration:

  • Dehydration has a huge effect on performance and it is the second leading cause of muscle cramping.  The thirst usually is a signal for increasingly severe dehydration, by the time you feel thirsty, you have been dehydrated for some time.
  • Drinking more water helps to get rid of usual muscle cramps.

Restricted Circulation:

  • Restricted blood flow to a working muscle is also a factor that can cause muscle cramping. This would play a much larger role in older individuals, rather than younger ones.
  • Tight clothing during an activity could potentially restrict blood flow to a certain degree, which might trigger cramping.
  • Do regular exercises and stretching, drink plenty of water, and take healthy diet.

Repetitive motion:

  • This could also be called ‘overuse cramping’ or ‘repetitive motion’ cramping. This type of cramping occurs when a movement is performed repetitively, or when a contraction is maintained for a very long time. Take regular ergonomic breaks in such activities. Do stretch exercises.

Lack of Necessary Flexibility:

  • When flexibility is not sufficient for the activity being performed, and it is interfering with the desired movements, then it becomes a factor in causing cramping.  A decent amount of flexibility should be maintained in order to prevent cramps.
  • If you have a constantly tight muscle, and regular stretching might be necessary. If a strength imbalance exists the opposing muscle needs to be strengthened. So, if your hamstrings are constantly tight, your quads, abs, and hip flexors probably need to be strengthened.

Courtesy:

http://desire2beunstoppable.ca/blog/home/wrap-party/drink-more-water-cartoon/

http://www.theweightlosspath.com/flexibility-exercises/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048167

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/topicoftheweek119.htm

Personal factors can contribute in increased risk of musculoskeletal problems!

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There are certain factors inherent in work tasks that can increase our risk for the onset of musculoskeletal injuries (MSI), such as fixed and constrained postures that are frequently awkward, uncomfortable and maintained for too long a time, repetitious and forceful hand movements, and a high pace of work. Other factors such as our state of health or fitness, our addictions, our life style, our posture, and our work habits make us more susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries.

State of healthThere is general agreement among researchers that individuals with medical conditions are more likely to have musculoskeletal injuries. Examples of these conditions include hyper-mobile joints, arthritis, and diabetes or thyroid disease.

FitnessPoor physical fitness and the obesity-Example: poor fitness when combined with a body weight above the “ideal,” is a prime cause of weariness and fatigue which are commonly recognized to be factors that can contribute to the onset of MSI.

Casual AddictionsSmoking and consumption of caffeine or any other comfort food (chocolate, for example), that we commonly practice as temporary stress relievers can actually increase our chances for musculoskeletal injury in the long run.

Individual’s work habits which can increase the risk:·

The unfavorable body positions while working different tasks: Slouching while sitting with the back slumped against the backrest of the chair (spine, low back, neck wrists, and shoulder problems).

Pounding the computer keys harder than necessary can cause tingling in the fingertips, pain in the finger joints, strains the tendons of the fingers, hands and forearms, forearm tendonitis and de Quervain’s disease (painful inflammation of tendons in the thumb).

Courtesy:For more details please refer: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/risk_individual.html