ERGONOMICS

Ergonomics

 

 

What are ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the study and practice of improving the way people move and function within their daily life. Emphasis is placed on maximizing efficiency and safety through the use of certain tools or body mechanic strategies. Ergonomics also identifies how certain factors may be contributing to the injury. The term ergonomics comes from the Greek language and  translates to “fitting a job to the person.”

Physical therapists are trained in ergonomics as a means to help people with injury prevention and resolution. Both the tools used in your home or workplace as well as the way you use these tools, are subject to study and modification. Your physical therapist can determine if these tools and your workplace requirements or home responsibilities are physically suited to you, and if not, what can be done about it.

 

Why are ergonomics so important in the workplace?

According to the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), companies in the United States spend at least $170 billion annually on occupational injuries. Fortunately, OSHA also points out that businesses can reduce their injury and illness costs by up to 40% by implementing certain health and safety systems, including proper ergonomics training.

So, what kind of injuries are we talking about? The typical American employee may face any of the following musculoskeletal injuries, which are common in the workplace:

  • Cervical strain and pain (including a new phenomenon called “text neck”)
  • TMJ dysfunction and tension headaches
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve entrapment at the wrist)
  • Tendonitis (inflammation in tendons)
  • Rotator cuff strains and tears
  • Medial or lateral epicondylitis (golfer’s or tennis elbow, respectively)
  • Trigger finger
  • Back pain caused by injuries to the muscles, joints, or discs

Of course, it’s not possible to completely eliminate one’s risk for sustaining one of the above injuries. However, it’s important to note that poor posture, excessive sedentary behavior, and improper workspace setup all contribute to the incidence of such conditions.

In other words, fixing your ergonomics at work can drastically decrease your risk of sustaining an injury. Which may cost you in terms of medical bills, lost wages, and decreased productivity!

Also, ergonomics is not just for the workplace. In truth, everyone in your household needs to have a healthy awareness of good ergonomics in their daily lives. While doing everything from using their smartphone to driving to playing sports.

 

What should I expect during an ergonomics evaluation with my physical therapist?

Simply treating the signs and symptoms of an injury won’t necessarily prevent the injury from recurring again and again, at least not until the factors leading to the issue are identified and addressed. This is why an ergonomics evaluation is so critical for both symptom resolution and injury prevention.What you can expect when you come in  for an assessment:

  • One of our therapists will thoroughly evaluate your body, your current and past medical history, and your home and/or work environment.
  • We’ll ask you about the set-up of your desk or office, the type of tools and equipment you use, the expectations and demands of your job, and a summary of your typical day.

With this in mind, it’s great to see you in your actual environment, we can also simulate or recreate certain tasks or set-ups in order to get a clearer idea of the nature of your work and your general capacity for performing such work.

What does ergonomics treatment typically look like?

With this information we will can educate you on certain strategies that can help you manage your health better in your environment. When it comes to ergonomics, our focus is  improving posture, energy efficiency, and body mechanics. As well as making necessary adjustments and  modifications. In addition, these changes can reduce and prevent further pain and injury. We may recommend adjusting the position of your computer monitor, for example. We can  teach you how to implement a more frequent rest break policy so that you’re not sitting at your desk all day. Our thearpists may also recommend specialized devices or equipment modifications. For example, splints or wrist supports. These can help you perform your typical work duties with greater physical safety and comfort.

In addition to ergonomics training, we’ll likely provide you with other physical therapy services to address your symptoms. Including therapeutic exercises, joint mobilizations, and modalities such as electrical stimulation or cryotherapy.

If you feel you may have ergonomic issues at work, feel free to set up a detailed evaluation with one of our trained therapists.

We would love to hear from you!

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(509) 325-9144

  • The whole team was AWESOME! The environment was very comfortable and relaxed. The PT's were thorough and easy to work with. This is the place to go!

    John Bogensberger Avatar
    John Bogensberger
    2/20/2020

    The office staff are very welcoming and the 2 therapists I've seen are excellent. I really like the strain/counter strain modality they use. I've experience a lot of physical therapy and my results are much better with this technique. They also make use of the BEMER technology for increased circulation/blood flow to support treatment results.

    Elizabeth Pike Avatar
    Elizabeth Pike
    5/28/2019

    Love love love this place! Jessi is the therapist that I see and she is super sweet and very professional. Jessi explains what she is doing and how it will help. Darcy at the front desk is always cheerful and very helpful with scheduling and billing. If you are looking for a physical therapy office you should definitely call dynamic physical therapy and bracing!

    Wendi Soulia Avatar
    Wendi Soulia
    5/03/2019
  • Andrea and Arch are great to work with. They took the time to fully evaluate me and developed a course of therapy to achieve specific goals. So happy I chose them!

    Rob Brewer Avatar
    Rob Brewer
    6/28/2013

    Before I met Andrea, I was receiving counterstrain therapy at a different location. When that therapist retired, she recommended me to Andrea, and I haven't looked back! Nobody else has been able to so effectively treat my wide range of issues (everything from hypermobility to severe neck issues caused by a car crash) with such a friendly caring attitude! You can tell she truly cares about the health and well-being of all of her patients, and I highly recommend her to anybody seeking physical therapy or even pain relief from any issue. You won't regret it!

    I have been going to her for over five years now. Her style is to use strain and counterstrain techniques combined with strengthening exercises to best stabilize and strengthen your body. She listens to each of your concerns and can treat both the entire body and/or just a specific area. It is fascinating to feel the instantaneous relief as she works on me, and I always walk out the door feeling 10 times better than I walked in.

    Shannon H Avatar
    Shannon H
    10/04/2019

    Andrea and the team at Dynamic Bracing are nothing short of incredible! Their holistic approach to patient care considers the whole person, not just isolated body parts. They are experts at using strain/counterstrain techniques to allow the body to heal and return to, or finally achieve, optimal functioning. Their model enables them to identify the source of the issue, versus treating random symptoms. I have tried chiropractic, massage therapy, and traditional physical therapy to heal my back and joints before I was introduced to the team at Dynamic Bracing. No other treatment has come close to giving me the instant relief that this has. If you are on the fence about going, I can assure you you won’t be disappointed. Their office is beautiful, clean, and tastefully decorated, (which I appreciate...it kind of has a spa feel to it). The only regret I have is that I didn’t know about them sooner!

    Heather Connor Avatar
    Heather Connor
    5/15/2019