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Office Ergonomics - Topic Overview

How can you prevent injuries at work?

Here are a few ways you can prevent injuries at work:

  • Try to place your work in front of you and sit tall while you work.
  • Try not to put too much stress on one area of your body, such as your lower back or arms.
  • Change your position often.
  • Turn with your whole body instead of twisting to face your work.
  • Take breaks to stretch or get out of your chair every 20 to 40 minutes. If you can, switch to another task.

What can you do if you have a work-related injury?

You can try home treatment for a few days when you first notice symptoms. Try to:

  • Rest the painful area and avoid activities that make your pain worse.
  • Use ice to reduce pain and swelling. You can try heat, or alternating heat and ice, after about 3 days or when there is no swelling.
  • Take over-the-counter medicines to relieve pain.
  • Use good posture, which generally means that your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. Slumping or slouching after a strain or injury in your back can make back pain worse.

If you've tried home treatment for several days in a row and it hasn't helped, call your health care provider. You may need physical therapy or other treatment to prevent more injuries.

To help prevent another injury, review your work area. Be sure it is set up in the best way possible to fit you and the job your are doing. You may be able to get more information about workplace safety and ergonomics from your human resources department at work or from your state's Department of Labor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about office ergonomics:

Being evaluated:

Getting treatment:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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