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A lot of brouhaha has been made about ‘good ergonomics’ at work, which constitute using a desk that is just the right height for you, along with an ortho chair. Yet, given that we all spend a substantial amount of time at home, household ergonomics are just as, if not more, important.

Home ergonomics entail having easy-to-use objects and furniture around us that is easily accessible. This not only allows you to do your chores efficiently, but more importantly, such furniture ensures that you maintain a healthy posture, keeping aching joints and sore muscles at bay.

So, the next time you venture out to buy a sofa, stool or chair, do not let style compromise ergonomics; buy one that does not allow your knees to bend at an acute angle when seated, because doing so places unnecessary strain on your joints, which, in turn, may cause ligament damage.

If you are spending a significant amount of time chopping vegetables, ensure that your kitchen counters are installed at waist height; counters that are too low require you to bend over, putting pressure on the base of your spinal cord, while stretching to access those  that are too high will leave you with swollen elbows and strained arm muscles.

And if you are about to unwind after a tiring day, avoid ‘curling up with a good book’; a curved posture for extended durations induces back stiffness and, in some cases, can even result in a slip disc, which requires corrective surgery, so opt for an ergonomically sound chair instead. Similarly, practice ergonomic sense and have a clutter free bedroom; use a spring mattress and pillows that support both your neck and head.

If you work from home for long durations, make the effort to get up and use your desktop computer instead of lounging with a laptop or tablet; using these gadgets continuously for more than two hours strains your finger and wrist joints, causing stress injuries.

– Dr Summaiya Syed-Tariq

The writer is a senior forensic practitioner working at the Police Surgeon’s Office, Karachi.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on October 26, 2014.

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