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What precautions should I take to avoid ailments related to a sitting job?

Q: I am a medical transcriptioner from the past 3-1/2 years. The job requires 8 hours of continuous sitting and hearing dictation through headphones, seeing the monitor and typing 600 lines. I am scared about carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain and my eyes and ears. What precautions should I take for continuing my job for a long time. What type of exercises do I need?

A:Repetitive Stress Syndrome is a blanket term that covers specific ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome. You can prevent all these with a bit of exercise, creativity and prudence. If you are working in a good organization, then I am sure you have ergonomically designed furniture and keyboards to help prevent these ailments from setting in. Otherwise please refer to the attachment which will help you deal with posture issues. Walking around every half hour will ensure that there is adequate blood supply to the limbs to prevent clotting. Also whenever you can look away from the computer screen and cover your eyes with your palms for a few minutes. Here are some more tips that can help you:

  • The telephone should be placed on your left side
  • Do not cradle it for too long between the ears and the shoulder.
  • Writing material should be placed on your right side
  • The computer screen should be at eye level and in front of the body to prevent the neck from stretching excessively to the back or side
  • Support the wrists and forearms on the table or arm rests to prevent fatigue and predisposition to repetitive stress injuries (RSI)
  • The wrists should be at natural angles when working on the keyboards again to prevent (RSI)
  • Sit with your feet flat on the ground or on an elevation, with the knees at an angle of 90 degrees, to avoid fatigue to the knees and to cut lower back drag.
If your work keeps you in your chair for long periods, look at the dimensions of the chair and correct them accordingly: Chair: Height - The back of the knee to the heel (while standing) Depth - The back of the knee to the back the hip (while sitting) Backrest height - The back of the hip to the middle shoulder blade Backrest angle - Between 90 to 110 degrees Backrest contours - Bulged at the bottom(lower back),depressed at the top Armrest - Natural height of bent arms (without excessive lift of shoulders) If the chair seems uncomfortable, use a pillow to fill up the space at the base of the chair to provide support to the lower back. Tables: Height - 33 inches


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