We come across issues in ergonomics every day, with increasing complaints of aches and pains arising from wrong posture. What is ergonomics and what is the best posture we should adopt, since we spend the greater part of the day sitting on chairs?
The word ergonomics is derived from Greek—ergon (work) and nomos (laws) to denote the science of work. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, ergonomics is an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely. Lack of attention to ergonomics can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which can affect our muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons. People, in different industries and occupations, can be exposed to risk factors at work, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body posture and performing the same, or similar, tasks repetitively. Something as simple as sitting for a prolonged period or working on a keyboard can increase the incidence of low back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, respectively. Pain and discomfort caused due to these conditions is a problem not just for the person suffering but also for employers and companies that lose large sums of money annually due to employees reporting sick and absenteeism from work. Ergonomics helps not just to manage MSDs but to also prevent their occurrence. Examples of MSDs:
Carpal tunnel syndrome;
Rotator cuff injuries (affecting the shoulder);
Epicondylitis (affecting the elbow);
Muscle strains and low back injuries.