Ergonomics, Injury Prevention, And Work Safety


Simple, yet extremely effective, techniques exist that can reduce wear and tear of your spine regarding your day to day activities at work and home. If these simple techniques are utilized, you can add years to your life and life to your years.

The rule of thumb is as follows: Utilize your legs and leg muscles during standing positions and lifting and cleaning, and stay away from bending at your waist.

Proper Lifting Technique

The leg muscles are the most powerful muscles in the body, and they are designed to be used for power lifts. During any lifting procedure, such as a heavy pot or a pencil, the feet should be spread apart as far as comfortably possible, and the knees should be bent as you go down to pick up the item, as if it was a squatting maneuver.

One should concentrate on keeping the spine straight up as if you were still standing. By keeping the spine straight and utilizing this squatting position tremendous stress is taken off of the spine and transferred to the legs during each lift of every day. The secret is to be patient; it will take a good period of time to form this new habit.

Don’t become frustrated because you continuously forget to not bend at the waist and utilize the squatting procedure. Most of us have been bending at the waist for many years. Remember to take a brief second just before you are going to stoop down to pick up something, and position yourself appropriately for the lift. The more you practice this maneuver, the faster this new healthy habit will form.

Proper Standing Position

For the standing position, one should always try to spread the feet apart as far as possible to again take the stress off the spine, especially the lower back. Examples include standing in front of an ironing board, a counter top, or the kitchen sink for dishes, clean-up, and food preparation. Certain work activities require long periods of standing, and you should also practice this position.

As you are standing in front of the structure you are working on, spread the feet as far apart as tolerable, and the stress is now into the legs. The taller you are, the more you will benefit by spreading the feet further apart. Some people think that this position is a little silly, but that doesn’t matter. The stress off the spine is worth any small amount of jokes or ridicule you may encounter. This “spread eagle” position also decreases the slightly bent forward posture which creates so much pressure on the discs and joints of the spine. Also, as additional help, bend the knees slightly.

Proper Sitting Position

The last position to consider is the sitting position. Many of us, being in the computer age, spend hours each day sitting, either in front of a computer, or driving. Practice sitting up straight just like your parents told you to. Pull the shoulders back, and lift the chin up as much as possible.

This will also take time to get use to, so be patient. Computer monitors should be HIGHER THAN EYE LEVEL, SO YOU ARE LOOKING SLIGHTLY UPWARDS TO VIEW THE MONITOR. Televisions can be elevated as well. When you are reading, especially lighter materials such as paperwork, newspapers, and light books, lift them up so you are looking straight rather than looking directly down on to a flat surface. These posture techniques, although simple, are very effective and can add years to your life and reduce needless suffering.

Proper Sitting Techniques To Prevent Neck, Low Back Pain, And Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

With the technology and computer era, more people are sitting for more hours each day at work and commuting. All of this sitting, especially when combined with poor posture, has led to a massive increase in the deterioration of the human spine, leading to a host of wear and tear syndromes, suffering, degeneration, arthritis, and brain dysfunction.

Most of these problems can be prevented with a smart strategy utilized during long sitting periods at work, home, and driving. The discs and joints of the spine function like a sponge. The sponge must be squeezed to push out waste products, and released to pull in nutrients. If you leave the sponge on a counter, it will dry up and be rendered useless.

A similar situation exists with the discs and joints of the spine. After age 20, there is no direct blood supply to the discs of the spine, and very poor blood supply to the joint ligaments. Therefore, they must rely on motion and flexibility to receive their nutrients and eliminate wastes. Long periods of sitting without motion can accelerate the deterioration of discs and joints, causing a variety of problems, diseases, and pain.

In addition, there are nerve ending in discs, joints, and muscles of the spine which are the primary drive and stimulation of the brain. These muscle spindles and joint mechanoreceptors rely on motion to be stimulated to keep the brain functioning well.

With decreased flexibility and motion of the spine, these nerve ending do not stimulate the brain, leading to a variety of brain disorders, which explains why many of our elderly have brain deterioration syndromes, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia. It is critical to take appropriate care of your spine to enjoy the highest level of humanism throughout your life.

STEP 1: Sitting with Proper Posture

Most people realize that proper posture when sitting is critical to a healthy spine and nervous system. The chin should be up, shoulders driven back, and ALL COMPUTER MONITORS SHOULD BE ABOVE EYE LEVEL, TO REINFORCE PROPER SITTING POSTURE.

If you have been sitting for many years in a slouched posture, it will take time for you to get used to sitting with appropriate posture, so be patient. Shifting positions in your chair and standing up even for a few seconds very frequently will help. If you sit for long periods of time without getting up or exercising, your spine will rot!

STEP 2: Flexibility and Posture Exercises

Flexibility and posture exercises are critical to maintenance of a healthy spine and nervous system. There are three simple exercises that everyone can do right away to help prevent spinal degeneration:
– Spinal twist: sitting, feet apart, shoulders back, chin up, arms out in front, twist slowly and comfortably, side to side while turning the head as well. Perform this 1-10 times every 20-30 minutes.

– Spinal bending: sitting, feet apart, shoulders back, head up, hands on thighs, slowly and comfortably bend the spine from left to right, bending the head as well. Perform this 1-10 times every 20-30 minutes, or more.

– Spinal extension: This is a posture exercise to undo poor posture. Sitting, hand behind the back with hand down by the waist, one hand clasped over the other, pull the shoulders straight back as if to pinch something between the shoulder blades, and lift the chin as high as comfortably possible (look at the ceiling). Hold this position for 10 seconds. Do 1-3 of these or more, each hour. If this exercise is uncomfortable, don’t stretch as far back, or stop immediately.

– And for home: lie on back on the floor or bed, knees bent. Roll the knees slowly side to side and gently stretch the low back. Excellent motion for the low back discs, joints, and muscles. Make sure you perform these exercises under the guidance of your health care professional. These exercises should be performed in your comfort zone only and not forced.

STEP 3: Chiropractic Consultation

If you are still suffering from spinal and extremity complaints, or nervous system dysfunction, a chiropractic consultation is indicated. If someone feels great, with no complaints, they may consider a chiropractic consultation as well to prevent future problems and for general health and wellness. Please call Dr. Scott Fuller at his office and speak to him personally if you have additional questions regarding chiropractic treatment or any problems that you may have. Chiropractic treatment focuses on improving spinal joint health and nervous system integrity.

STEP 4: Prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In many cases, surgery, drugs, and the pain of CTS is avoidable with just few simple exercises. Chiropractic treatment may also very successfully help this situation.

– The rubber band exercise: take an average thickness postal rubber band and place it around your distal fingertips. Keep your fingers and thumb almost straight, in a claw-like fashion. Then, slowly open your fingers as far as possible against the band tension, and close slowly. Repeat several times a day, and steadily build up the frequency to your tolerance. Strengthen up these posterior forearm muscles, and the CTS may cease.

I welcome all comments and questions. For more information feel free to contact me at 781-933-3332 or e-mail me at

Created by: Dr. Scott Fuller, D.C., C.C.S.T.
Fuller Chiropractic
576 Main Street
Woburn, MA 01801

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