Our experience working with people who encounter work station-related pain shows that most problems have common causes. Some simple suggestions may be helpful to you. Try these ideas for a few weeks. If your problems persist, formal physical therapy and/or occupational therapy, or further assessment by your physician may be warranted.
1. Your monitor and keyboard should be directly in front of you.
2. Your eyes should be level with the top of the monitor and an arm’s length away. Bifocal users may need to lower monitor unless viewed through top part of glasses.
3. Utilize a document holder to avoid a downward rotation of your head.
4. The keyboard should be level with your elbows.
5. Your elbows should be at no more than a 90 degree angle and your shoulders should be relaxed.
6. The mouse should be next to the keyboard and at the same height.
7. Use a wrist rest if needed, but avoid resting your wrists while you are typing. Your wrist should remain neutral.
8. Utilize the backrest with an adequate lumber support while working.
9. Your hips and knees should be at a 90 degree angle with 2-3 inches between the back of your knee and the seat.
10. Your feet should rest on the floor or on a footrest.
- Change tasks and/or positions hourly.
- Consider a headset if you spend extended time on the phone.
- Close your eyes occasionally or focus on a distant object to avoid eye strain
- Take time out to do the exercises described next.
Tim Myers, OT at Prairie Rehab in Sioux Falls and Harrisburg says, “Good form will lead to good function, which ultimately will lead to good health. It is very important that your work station is adjusted to suit your individual needs.”
WORK STATION STRETCHING AND STRENGHTHENING EXERCISES
Tip your head to the side, trying to bring your ear to your shoulder. Keep looking straight ahead and try not to raise your shoulder to your ear. You may apply an additional stretch with your hand. Hold for 5 seconds, then release and alternate sides.
SHOULDER BLADE SQUEEZE
Stand or sit straight and tall. Tuck chin in and relax arms. Pull your shoulders back, squeezing your shoulder blades together and down. Hold for 5 seconds, release and repeat.
NECK GLIDE EXERCISE
Tuck your chin and pull your head back while continuing to look straight ahead. Make a double chin. Hold for 5 seconds, relax and repeat.
Slowly rotate your shoulders in a full circle, first backward, then repeat in the forward direction.
Turn your head and try to look over your shoulder. You may apply an additional stretch with your hand.
Straighten both arms out in front of you. Using opposite hand, stretch wrist back palm up. Then stretch wrist, palm down.
Lower your wrist from a straight position. Repeat 5 times.
Clench fist tightly, then release, fanning out fingers. Repeat 5 times.
If your problems persist after attempting the above exercises, a more personalized program may be appropriate. Ashley Hoyme, OT at Prairie Rehab in Minnesota says, “There is a difference between pain pain and good pain, you don’t have to live with pain that limits your opportunities. Occupations are your everyday activities and hobbies. What do you want to get back to?”
Our therapy team at Prairie Rehab is ready to take the next step with you. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
For those who cannot make it to out to one of our clinics, we also offer our Prairie at Home program. More information on this program can be found here. A full list of our outpatient clinic locations can be found here.
About Prairie Rehabilitation
At Prairie Rehabilitation our Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Hand Therapy and Speech Therapy experts are passionate about helping our patients reclaim their way of life and function. It’s about you; you are unique with distinct qualities, abilities, and needs. At Prairie Rehabilitation we embrace the philosophy of “Patient First” care; treating each individual with precise and personalized care. To achieve the best results and to speed your recovery, we are committed to utilizing the most clinically proven and current concepts in rehabilitation.
Ashley Hoyme OTD, OTR/L completed her occupational therapy doctorate in May 2019 after obtaining her Master of Science OT degree in December 2014 from the University of South Dakota. She works at the Worthington Prairie Rehabilitation outpatient clinic, surrounding nursing homes and home health. Ashley has spent 5 years with Prairie Rehabilitation and enjoys rehabilitating shoulders and upper extremity injuries to help patients return to his/her daily occupations.
Timothy Myers, OTR/L graduated from the University of South Dakota in December 2011. He has worked for Prairie Rehabilitation in a variety of settings including skilled nursing, home health and outpatient. His goal is for individuals to be independent with their daily activities. Currently he works outpatient rehab with a focus on orthopedics and occupational health.