Better Workplace : Ergonomics at Work

What is “ergonomics”? Ergonomics means “Fitting the job to the worker.”

Ergonomics… is the science and practice of designing jobs and workplaces to match the capabilities and limitations of the human body. As early as in 18th century doctors noted that workers who required to maintain body positions for long periods of time developed musculoskeletal problems.Within last 20 years, research has clearly established connections between certain job tasks and RSI or MSD. To understand the problem we should know what are the reasons behind these problem. What two elements are at work?

  • Static work: Musculoskeletal effort required to hold a certain position, even a comfortable one.
  • Force: Amount of tension our muscles generate

These forces cause excessive and repetitive stresses on the muscles, joints and tendons and gives rise to various musculoskeletal problems. Hence, it becomes imperative for us to create a working environment which is ergonomically fit for the work.

Benefits of Ergonomics

  • Ergonomics helps to prevent injuries
  • Ergonomics Improves quality of work
  • Improves quality of life & Reduced fatigue and discomfort

What? Overuse injuries, soft tissue injuries which occur gradually also known as Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs) or Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) are Work-related Musculo-Skeletal Disorders(WMSD). Common WMSDs are:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Slipped spinal discs
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis
  • De’quervain’s tendinitis
  • Trigger finger
  • Carpet layer’s knee
  • Tennis elbow

Heavy, frequent, or awkward lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying loads, working in awkward postures, intensive hand work, like pinching, gripping, repetitive postures, vibrations are the common causes of WMSDs.

The common symptoms are painful joints like wrist, knees, shoulders, tingling, numbness in fingers, severe nagging pain in both legs and feet, severe back ache or neck pain, reduced range of movements in joints, loss of grip or difficulty in holding objects.

To avoid these problems, dictum “Prevention is better than cure” fits perfectly… So, lets start by knowing how we can avoid these problems. To get started:

    a) Warm up & stretch before activities that are repetitive, static or prolonged
    b) Take frequent breaks from ANY sustained posture every 20-30 minutes
    c) Respect pain – positions or stop painful activity
    d) Recognize early signs of inflammatory process, & report early
    e) Maintain proper postures while sitting and standing
    f) Avoid lifting heavy weights.
    g) Slide objects instead of lifting them
    h) Store heavy items where you won’t have to bend or reach to lift them
    i) Use ladders to get items down from high shelves.
    j) Hold objects closer to your body when lifting
dr amol kadu better workplace ergonomics
dr amol kadu better workplace ergonomics

The key is to Relax yourself at work. Its really important to create ergonomical habits and environment at work place to protect yourself.

  • Take “stretch pauses”: Take frequent breaks from ANY sustained posture every 20-30 minutes.
  • Improve your posture
  • Move around as much as possible
  • Warm up & stretch before activities that are repetitive, static or prolonged
  • Recognize early signs of inflammation
  • Help yourself to avoid such problems.
  • Understand your work and do it right way.
  • Work towards improving your working conditions
  • Be ergonomical at work.
  • Reporting problem early is important.

It’s really important to realise the importance of ergonomics at work and follow it at work. Otherwise, over the months & years the work will take its toll on your body.

So, be fit and keep ur workplace fitter!

Keep Looking for Ways to Avoid Back Pain?

Back pain can be the result of trauma, such as a fall or a car accident. But most often back pain is the result of an Everyday Activity done incorrectly — activities as common as twisting to reach or lift an object, sitting at a computer in the same position for hours, bending over to vacuum, and carrying shopping bags. The good news is that back pain prevention isn’t all that difficult, often requiring just a few adjustments that will soon become second nature.

Here are six simple but effective back pain prevention tips.

  1. Exercise.
    One of the most important things you can do for back pain prevention is to get up and get moving. Why does exercise prevent back pain?
    Muscles are meant to move. If you aren’t in good shape, you’re more likely to hurt your back and feel pain when you do even simple movements, such as lifting your child from his crib. Also, exercise helps keep your joints flexible. Sedentary lifestyle tends to weaken your musculature and hence everyday activities put lots of stress on your joints , especially on back.
    Another reason exercise prevents back pain is that exercise helps you keep your weight down — being overweight, especially around your stomach, can put added strain on your back.
  2. Eat right.
    If you maintain good eating habits, you not only will maintain a healthy weight, but you also will not put unnecessary stress on your body. Conversely, a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grains will keep your digestive tract on track.
  3. Sleep sideways.
    You don’t want to sleep flat on your back. The best position for sleeping is on your side. If you must sleep on your stomach, put a pillow under your lower abdomen to help take stress off your back. Having a supportive mattress and pillow for your head are vital as well. Getting enough, restful sleep is always an important part of maintaining good health, Also, if you exercise during the day, you sleep better at night.
  4. Maintain proper posture.
    People sitting at their computer for seven or eight hours a day tend to have backache. People slouch over their computers and their telephones when they’re texting, and they don’t realize the damage they’re doing to their backs and the pain they could be causing.Be sure to work at an ergonomically correct workstation, both at the office and at home, and break up long periods in front of the computer with stretching exercises. If you practice good posture, you will maintain the natural curves of your back and help keep it strong.
  5. Reduce stress.
    You probably don’t realize how much stress can impact your back health. Stress causes you to tense your muscles, and constant tension of this kind can cause back pain. Any activity that helps you reduce stress will help prevent back pain. Stress reduction activities can include yoga, meditation, biofeedback, deep breathing, tai chi, and guided imagery.
  6. Quit smoking.
    It’s well known that smoking raises your risk for heart disease and cancer, including lung and colon cancers, but most people don’t realize that smoking also can be a cause of persistent back pain. Research also shows smoking can make existing back pain worse. It’s not entirely clear how smoking affects back health, but one possibility is that it narrows blood vessels. Narrowed blood vessels result in less oxygen and nutrients reaching the spine and, in turn, it becomes more susceptible to injury and slower to heal.
    In routine day to day works and schedules we can make small ergonomic changes, to avoid stress on your back. We all tend to sit for longer periods these days, at work, at home and in the car. Our backs are designed for spending the majority of our day on our feet being active, not stuck sitting for most of the day.

Why is sitting so bad for your back?
Backs like movement! It keeps the muscles and spine supple and conditioned, and ensures that excessive compression and poor posture doesn’t build up and cause issues with your spine.

Sitting puts your lower back into a flexed position with adds compression through the spine, tightens your hip flexor muscles and can tighten your back muscles unless your chair setup is perfect ergonomic wise. Sitting for long hours causes spasm of Hamstring muscle ,largest muscle in the body and that results in creating lot of stress on your lower back. to avoid this we should pay proper attention to the postures we should inculcate in our routine.

So what can you do to help your back if you are sitting a lot?

At Work:

  1. Move regularly –every 20 minutes get up and move. Having a sit-stand desk should be considered, they aren’t as expensive as you might think and your back will love it.
  2. Ensure your work chair is ergonomic – it needs to be 3 way adjustable i.e. Height, Back rest tilts, Seat tilts.
  3. The tilts on the chair (both back rest and seat tilt) needs to be just right to be able to support the natural curve of your spine, so your back can rest comfortably into the chairs backrest.
  4. Ensure your desk is the right height and the keyboard/mouse are close to the edge of your desk, and the screen is at or just below eye level

At Home:

  1. Avoid sitting in deep lounge chairs or sofa seats. If you have to sit on them, use a cushion to support your lower back curve. These types of chairs really flex your low back and can be an aggravation.
  2. Use a good computer chair if you are working on the computer or laptop, don’t use the lounge or sofa!
  3. If you are watching TV, why not lie down on the ground or on the lounge instead of always sitting.
  4. Consider buying a recliner chair, they are often better for your back.

In the Car:

  1. Use a cushion/rolled up towel or lumbar support in the arch of your low back for more support
  2. Have the seat up high and forward towards the wheel to help you sit up straighter
  3. If you are doing long drives, stop every hour and get out the car. Walk and stretch your back for a few minutes will help a lot.

The main theme is, get and keep moving. The above tips to help your back whilst sitting are great, but not sitting as much in the first place, is even better for your back.

You can reduce your risk for back pain with simple lifestyle changes. However, if you should experience back pain, don’t ignore it. It could be a sign of a more serious condition. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what you should do to find and treat the cause.

Osteoarthritis and TKR

About Osteoarthritis and Knee Pain

If you are visiting this web site, chances are it’s because you or someone you care about suffers from the arthritis that causes knee pain. You are not alone. More than 20 million have the most common form of it, known as osteoarthritis (OA). In fact, OA is the number one of the most common cause of disability

But there is goodnews for OA patients. More than ever before, people are regaining their active lifestyles and continuing many of their favorite activities, despite theircondition. As you explore the rest of this , keep this in mind: There is hope, and help.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease. That means it will never get better, and is likely to get worse over time. Unlike some forms of arthritis that are due to a faulty immune system, osteoarthritis is a “wear-and-tear” disease: the knee pain and immobility are caused by wear-and-tear between the joints. This friction is due to worn out cartilage between the joints.

OA strikes three times as many women as men and most often occurs in people over 50. However,younger people who have been injured in sports or accidents can start having symptoms in their 30s and 40s.

If you have OA,everyday activities may be extremely painful or even impossible. Simple thingslike walking, driving, lifting, standing, and exercising may be causing you extreme pain. It may even hurt when lying down to sleep or rest.

In addition to physical symptoms, osteoarthritis takes an emotional toll. A survey by The National Council on the Aging sheds light on the way OA hampers the lives of people with the disease.OA is a progressive disease. While early treatment can slow things down, affected joints generally continue to get worse.

Remember, though,that while the disease is serious and painful, there is hope and help. lets,Explore for information on coping with knee pain and OA.

About the knee

Your knee has three parts: your thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia)and knee cap (patella). Where the bones meet, they are covered with asmooth substance called articular cartilage which helps them slide overeach other easily. The joint is held together with tough bands of tissuecalled ligaments and is lubricated with a special fluid.Arthritis is a process in which the articular cartilage is destroyed: oncecartilage has been damaged or destroyed it is gone for good as it cannotrepair or heal itself. Serious injury, wear and tear and a family history ofarthritis all seem to play a part. Arthritis can develop over many years orfairly rapidly and can follow serious injury.

What is a Total Knee Replacement (TKR)?

Total knee replacement, or TKR, is a surgical procedure in which the knee is resurfaced with artificial parts. Your knee replacement will consist of a metal shell on the end of the femur and a metal and plastic trough on the tibia. A plastic button will be used to resurface the back of the kneecap, if needed.

An artificial knee is not a normal knee but,aims to:

l. Provide pain relief

2. Allow you to walk a good distance again

3. Correct deformityi.e. give you a straight legl

4. Remove symptoms such as giving wayand locking

5. Improve your quality of life.

The consultant will recommend this operation, however it is your choice to have this operation and the outcome is reliant on the amount of work you do.After the operation your deep Osteo-arthritic pain should resolve, however,for a period of time this will be replaced with ‘Surgical pain’ from the trauma of the operation and it is important to take regular analgesia to allow you toperform your exercises.

A total knee replacement(TKR) is a large commitment and you must be motivated and prepared to spend time making the process a success.

How long will my knee replacement (TKR) last?

All knee replacements have a limited life expectancy dependant on an individual’s age, weight and level of activity. Their longevity will vary but all TKR will eventually wear out. Currently 10-20 years is the expected life span but up to 5% of knee replacements will not last 10 years. There is no guarantee that your particular implant will last a specific length of time. It is important to follow your Surgeon’s advice after surgery.

How long will I be in hospital?

The average length of stay for a TKR is 3-5 days, however this is dependant on your previous level of fitness, medical complications and home circumstances. If you are motivated you maybe able to get home sooner. You will only be discharged when the team is happy you can care for yourself at home.

Why do implants fail?

The most common reason for failure in a TKR is loosening or wear of the implant. This can usually be replaced with another one which is called a revision.

Will I have restrictions after surgery?

You will be advised against participating in high impact activities such as running, jumping, squash, singles tennis and contact sports.

Will I notice anything different about my knee?

You will notice some numbness on the outside of the scar. The area around your scar may feel warm for up to six months. In the initial post operative period you will find your knee becomes stiff, this will improve with regular exercises. Initial swelling in your knee should settle in 6 weeks, however your knee can continue to swell following activity for about a year. You may also notice some clicking as you move your knee due to the artificial surfaces coming together, this should improve in time.

When will I be able to return to work?

We recommend that most people will need at least six weeks off from work. Patients with more sedentary jobs may be able to return to work sooner. The timing of your return to work will depend on your progress and commitment.

When will I be able to drive?

Most people would not be fit to drive in the first six weeks. If you have had your right knee replaced you must be able to perform an emergency stop effectively. Driving will depend on your progress,commitment and individual circumstances.Please seek advice from a health professional or at your six week follow up.

You may find that gentle exercise (within your limits of pain) such as cycling,swimming, or walking with periods of rest in between are of more benefit than exercise which will result in excessive weight on your joints i.e. jogging.

Exercising the muscles around the joint will help to maintain or possibly improve the strength of your muscles and also the range of movement of the joint. This will also benefit you after your operation.

Partial Knee Replacement Can Also Treat Your Pain

Knee osteoarthritis sometimes only occurs on the medial side of the joint (the side closest to your other knee). In knees that are otherwise healthy, partial knee replacement can preserve the healthy bone, cartilage and ligaments. Whenever a patient comes to a point where the pain becomes unbearable and it does not respond to simple line of treatment, THE ONLY OPTION OFFERED TO PATIENTS IS TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT. But in patients where the only medial side of knee is worn off and rest of the joint surface and ligaments are intact, it becomes a very destructive option. Although TKR has been a proven safe procedure with data supporting its success rates, it still has got a limited life span of around 15 yrs. in such a case if only medial surface is replaced with a UKA, it gives patient a pain free joint with almost normal knee movement with a comparatively minimal surgery.

Partial knee replacement is being done since last 65 yrs in western world and has developed its design to give optimal results in carefully selected group of patients. In published data, the Partial Knee is the most widely used and clinically proven in the world. Published long-term clinical results on the Partial Knee demonstrated a 92.4% survivorship at 10 years, 94.0% at 15 years and 91% at 20 years.

New research reports that Partial Knee patients are more likely than total knee patients to be satisfied with their ability to perform activities of daily living, and to report that their knee replacement “felt normal”.

Patients receiving the Partial Knee at a minimum of one year post-operation were:

  • 1.81 times more likely than total knee replacement recipients to report that their knee felt normal.
  • 2.69 times more likely to be satisfied with their ability to perform activities of daily living.

Other advantages of partial knee includes short hospital stay, minimally invasive surgery, rapid recovery and almost no physiotherapy post operation.

It is a blessing for Indian patients for two reasons, one, it allows squatting and cross leg sitting to patients which is not possible with TKR and second, in most of the Indian patients the degenerative disease starts in medial compartment and if its treated with Partial knee the progression of disease also gets restricted.

There is no guarantee that any implant will successfully function for a specific length of time, as there are a multitude of variables that affect the life of an implant.

Not all patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis are candidates for Partial knee, hence its your surgeon who will decide whether it can be a choice for your patient.