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Musculoskeletal Disorders in Computing and the Ergonomic Chair

08 July 2021

Computing is inevitable in any given task whether it is a professional one or a personal activity that you want to be done in a short period of time. Everyone should be computer literate as we are in a digital and technological era where we can be more useful and make a task more profitable with the use of a computer and the Internet.

The evolution of the digital workplace and technology boom even transformed our society particularly the workers into more digitally inclined and computer savvy as they are inevitably a requisite of our modern and dynamic world. Even old people have to learn computing to be able to adjust to a society where smartphones and other devices are already an integral part of our lives. Smartphones are an easy way to communicate in the global village. 

Otherwise, if you do not learn them, you feel you are left behind and unable to be part of the digital and Internet-savvy society. Communication whether personal or business in nature is done faster with efficiency in the digital world. As it has many advantages for us, there are also disadvantages that go along with it.

Using computers or computing at work is a regular and normal part of work. Workers spend longer hours at work using the computer to finish a given task in a specified time with efficiency and in a productive manner. However, studies on different organizations show evidence of work-related illnesses particularly computer-related work that cause musculoskeletal disorders as an example.

A study conducted associated with musculoskeletal disorders and computer work, (https://academic.oup.com/) it shows that:

“It is hypothesized that perceived muscular tension is an early sign of musculoskeletal disorder, which arises as a result of work organizational and psychosocial factors as well as from physical load and individual factors.”

“It is further hypothesized that perceptions of exertion and comfort are other possible early signs of musculoskeletal disorders in computer work. Interventions aimed at reducing musculoskeletal disorders due to computer work should be directed at both physical/ergonomic factors and work organizational and psychosocial factors”

Musculoskeletal disorders such as 

  • Tendinitis
  • Rotator cuff injuries (affects the shoulder)
  • Muscle strains and low back injuries.
  • Epicondylitis (affects the elbow)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Simply put, musculoskeletal disorders affect the hands, wrists, elbows, neck, and shoulders which are mostly utilized when we are computing at work or even when we are working for personal purposes.  

Studies also found that computer work needs ergonomic desks and chairs to reduce these kinds of disorders and injuries involving the upper part of the body. As such, there must be some interventions to reduce or if possible totally eliminate them for more worker’s efficiency and productivity.

One intervention is the use of ergonomic chairs that allows the worker to sit for a longer period of time without experiencing muscle strains and possible work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD). Otherwise, a worker who contracts a WMSD may resort to tardiness, absenteeism that may lead to hospitalization or longer confinement. This will be costly for the employer and will also affect the attendance and performance of the worker.

As such, intervention beginning with basic office furniture such as an ergonomic chair may mitigate or reduce work-related illnesses among workers. An ergonomic chair is distinguished from an ordinary chair with the following features (https://www.chairoffice.co.uk/blog):

  • “The headrest supports the back of the head and the upper neck, reducing tension in the shoulders and upper torso.”
  • “A good ergonomic chair is made out of comfortable materials. The material should not cause the user’s back to sweat. However, the materials used will depend on the budget; high-end ergonomic chairs will use leather or velvet.”
  • “If your chair will be used on a hard surface, find a chair with soft rubber wheels. If your workplace/home office is carpeted, opt for hard wheels to help you navigate better.”
  • “Armrests help to reduce tension in the upper body and allow the shoulders to relax. On the other hand, armrests should not be used when typing as this reduces overall arm movement, which in turn increases wrist movement leading to strain on the forearm muscles.”
  • “An adjustable backrest allows for greater tailored positioning for the user, as they can move the backrest to more specifically support their natural spine position. Using this feature throughout the day allows the backrest to take some of the weight from your upper body, reducing the pressure on your spinal disks and muscles.”
  • “The backrest lumbar support is the support provided to your lower back which is an important feature of an ergonomic chair. Ergonomic chairs support the natural ‘S’ shape of the spine, which prevents slumping and reduces stress on the spine and the pelvis. An adjustable backrest allows users to align the curve in the chair with the curve in their spine, for optimal support.” (retrieved from the aforementioned source)

Having indicated the essential features of an ergonomic chair,  FlexiSpot has a wide array of home office chairs that you can find interesting with so many ergonomic features that the product is really worth buying. One of the featured ergonomic office chairs is the Ergonomic Office High back Mesh Chair with Adjustable Headrest H3005.

It has ergonomic properties such as superb lumbar support and saddle seat cushion with a double mesh for more comfort and cool feel while performing your task for the day. It is also designed to be perfectly fit for a worker's needs.

This mesh chair features Height-adjustable arms, headrest, swivel, height, and tilt mechanism. It aims to increase performance at work and create a better living environment at home.

This 360-degree swivel task chair can move and rotate easily so that you can reach anything on your desk without straining. Its durable nylon casters allow for smooth-rolling so no damage is done to the floors. Heavy-duty base with a maximum 250 pounds weight capacity.

Computing will be a cozy and pain-free task with this wonderful ergonomic office mesh chair.