How to adapt to the ‘new normal’ with ergonomics
Chiropractors and physiotherapists report a surge in cases as thousands of now remote workers are attempting to do their work over a kitchen counter or on their beds, leading to sore backs, necks, shoulders and wrists. So what’s going on here?
A common tale among white collared workers
Jesse, a Malaysian-based designer, used to work in an ergonomic office space in Hong Kong: comfortable desk chair, monitor at eye level, external keyboard. Then came Covid-19. During the MCO in Malaysia, she worked on a laptop on her dining table, without any cushions on the stylish wooden chair. Several months later she felt pain in her neck, back, and shoulders that sent her to a physiotherapist.
“The most common office work-related injuries relate to what is called Repetitive strain injuries (RSI). This can vary from lower back pain, neck pain or wrist pain” said Dc Andre Abader, the owner and resident of Kiropraktis Chiropractic Center. RSI is caused due to a gradual build-up of damage to the tendons, muscles, and nerves from repetitive motions, such as using a computer mouse and keyboard for many hours without moving.
Dr Andre Abader has been practicing his trade for over 20 years, and runs the Kiropraktis Chiropractic Center in Bangsar South
Dr Andre Abader notes that the cause of common work-from-home related injuries and problems is usually a combination of improper postures and or improper equipment, that comes down to the individual's capacity to bear these conditions. “In today's modern world we spend too much time at our desk and using computers, etc. If the furniture we use is part of the underlying causes it is only logical that we fix this. It's also easier to change your chair then to quit your job”.
The typical customer story we get here at Ergoland after the MCO was moved to Recovery-MCO were: Employees aren’t really aware of the benefits of ergonomics, and were careless with their posture, non-ergonomic work stations, and bad habits, leading to intense soreness and lower back pains after several weeks. At first, it was simply mild discomfort, but over the weeks it quickly caused them to wake up with soreness. This applies to children as well, now being removed from the classroom. Many parents have come to Ergoland seeking for a more permanent study-from-home children solutions due to having to use remote-learning.
How every day furniture affect children
Luca is a 7-year-old who suffers from back pain and has scoliosis from a young age. Though it was manageable in school, studying at home has proved to be a challenge, whose parents were anxious to rectify. Dc Andre Abader notes that scoliosis, flat feet, and posture changes are common children growth anomalies and that ergonomic furniture and human-cantered products are the keys in helping relieve some of that stress.
He cites the overall lack of knowledge regarding ergonomics by parents exacerbate the child’s situation, that school bags are often overloaded, and children spend additional hours sitting after school for tuition, as opposed to spending time being physically active. This all contributes to poor posture and could lead to more serious complications.
“Parents need to look at Chiropractic like Dentistry. Children should visit the Chiropractor for a check-up at least once every 6 months. “Dc Andre Abader advises because most of these growth problems are initially painless, and parents will not realize the symptoms until it has developed into a more serious stage.
How ergonomics helps children and adults alike
To both WFH office workers at their dining table, and children having difficulty studying at home, he recommends making some simple changes can be making a world of difference. This includes corrective orthotics, ergonomic school bags, ergonomic desk and chairs, ergonomic education and just getting some exercise. Even if you’re in perfect ergonomics, if you’re in the same position for extended periods of time, the body will still react poorly, much like sitting in an airplane seat for too long.
Through Ergoland, we have paired Jesse and Luca with angle and height-adjustable workstations, perfect for their heights, as well as having an angled work surface that can decrease the leaning motion from our necks, as well as providing a more natural incline for our wrist to type or draw in, specifically the M17 Purely Desk and Speed Ultra Chair set. Both have remarked their conditions have improved, thanks to our staff here Ergoland teaching customers and giving basic guidance on posture, and how to best utilize their new workstation.
“The people at Ergoland is also very knowledgeable on health matters relating to ergonomics and is actively working on making a difference in people’s lives which is something that resonates with me.”
This means a lot to us, coming from a medical practitioner, Dc Andre Abader. Thank you. If you want to know more about how ergonomics can help you and your family, give us a call at +603 7732 7671 / +6016 221 3234, or visit us at one of our locations in 1Utama or Queensbay Mall!