The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a third of all workplace injuries and illnesses are due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs include injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle strains, and neck and lower back pain.

Workplace ergonomics was born of the need to reduce injuries, including those that can happen sitting right in front of your computer! With recent measures requiring all non-essential employees to work remotely, you may find yourself without the benefit of an ergonomically correct workspace. If you’re like most of us, your workstation — and posture — may need some tweaking.

Here are a few tips from the RVNAhealth occupational therapy team to help you create a comfortable, pain-free workspace and pave the way for improved productivity and performance.

Be sure to have ample lighting in your workspace. This will reduce the tendency to lean forward, which can cause neck and back discomfort, and squint, which causes eye fatigue.

Try to place your computer screen at eye level or slightly below to avoid awkward posture which is not good for your neck and back.

And consider the following accessories to reduce pain and improve comfort: a mouse pad with wrist rest, a high backed chair for full support, and a monitor lift to raise your screen to the proper eye level (a large book can substitute in a pinch).

Gigi Weiss, MSPT, CDP, director of Rehabilitative Services, also recommends getting up to stretch every 30-60 minutes to help relieve muscle fatigue and re-set your body and posture.

If you find yourself hunched over the kitchen counter or in some other compromising situation, take some time to adjust your set-up, even just a bit. You’ll be glad you did.

Theresa Santoro