We hear the word “ergonomics” a lot, but many people don’t actually understand what it means. It goes beyond the ergonomic mouse you use for your computer and the ergonomic chair you sit in at your desk. However, when we talk about ergonomics, we’re talking about making everything you interact with in your daily life — from furniture to factory equipment — friendly to your body. In doing this, we can help to reduce repetitive strain injuries and prevent you from missing out on important aspects of your life, like working and participating in activities you enjoy.
Alliance proudly provides ergonomic consulting services for businesses nationwide through our Work-Fit program. We also offer ergonomic screenings and coaching at several of our physical therapy clinics.
Our Ergonomic Services
We take a two-step approach to ergonomics. First, we help patients improve their posture and body mechanics to ensure they're moving around safely, reducing the risk of injury. Then, we help patients make necessary adjustments or modifications to their living or workspaces to prevent further injury.
Here are a few of the conditions our ergonomic screenings help to prevent:
- Back pain
- Neck pain (including cervical strain, aka "text neck")
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow
- Rotator cuff strains and tears
- TJ dysfunction and tension headaches
This list is not exhaustive, of course. Ergonomic screenings can help to prevent a wide range of conditions, including generalized chronic pain caused by poor posture and repetitive motions.
What to Expect During Your Screening
Your ergonomic assessment might occur at your workplace or in a physical therapy clinic, depending on the situation. It will include several components, including an interview and an assessment of the objects you interact with (if the assessment is conducted on-site). They will ask about your medical history and pain symptoms and inspect your work equipment to determine whether or not it's ergonomically friendly.
Your physical therapist will also ask you to demonstrate how you perform specific tasks related to your job. For instance, if you are a house painter, they may ask you to demonstrate how you would paint a tall building using a paint roller on an extendable rod. If you work in an office, they may ask to see your sitting posture. If you drive a truck, they may ask to see how you sit in the driver's seat and grip the steering wheel.
During this process, your specialist will identify any problems in your posture or with your equipment that may be causing you pain or putting you at risk of a future injury. Then, they will build a treatment plan consisting of stretches, exercises and other strategies you can use for pain relief. Finally, they will make suggestions regarding your workplace equipment. They may suggest replacing or modifying certain objects to prevent them from causing you pain.
This process can help you avoid repetitive strain injuries, so you miss fewer work days and experience less chronic pain. If you are interested in an ergonomic screening, contact an Alliance physical therapy clinic in your area today.