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Monday, August 4, 2008

Ergonomics for Transcriptionists

Regularly working at a desk or on a computer creates the potential for physical problems in the short and long term if you're not careful.

Back, Neck and Shoulders
Making sure that your chair (or other seat – I often sit on the couch!) provides proper support to help you maintain good posture is an important aspect of ergonomics. Slouching or shrugging your shoulders can lead to muscle stiffness and soreness. If your seat does not provide proper support, then adding a firm pillow as needed can help. Try adding one horizontally behind your lower back or a larger one vertically behind your whole back.

Regularly stretching is another important aspect of avoiding back, neck or shoulder strain. Taking a few minutes every hour or two to stretch can improve your productivity and protect against these injuries. Stretching and changing positions can also help you maintain your focus.

Obviously one of the areas that we are most at-risk is for wrist injuries – and for those of us who call this our career, it's also the scariest. You can protect your wrists in a number of ways, as outlined at MedWord.com:

*Maintain a straight wrist position while typing
*Avoid resting your wrists while typing
*Don't rest your wrist or forearm on a sharp edge while typing
*Use a light touch on the keyboard and mouse
*Take frequent rest breaks

Staring at a computer monitor for extended periods of time can also lead to eye strain and long-term problems. Eliminating glare on your screen and keeping the screen clear and bright are important to your eye health, as is taking frequent breaks. Closing your eyes or focusing on objects at different distances around the room can give your eyes a chance to rest, and you should do this at regular, frequent intervals, even if for only 30 seconds at a time.

Above all, if you experience any pain related to your work, an early visit to your healthcare professional can prevent the problem from becoming larger and less manageable.