KOCHI: The complications arising out of wrong work practices are often 'spine-chilling.' The techies who sit for long hours to meet a deadline and then drive to bust stress during weekends may break their backs.
Nearly 80 percent of techies in the 25-40 age group report spine problems, and some of them are forced to quit their jobs, according to physiotherapists.
"The case is the same with men and women. When the deadline approaches in an assignment, they sit without taking breaks which stretches up to 10 to 12 hours. To add to the woes, they go on long trips at the weekend, driving cars which also pose problems to the spine," said Tiji Mathew Thomas, physiotherapist with KPMM Physiotherapy Centre, Kochi.
"The complications often lead to irreversible damage to the spine, mainly lower back and neck. Bad sitting posture, long working hours and sedentary lifestyle are the main culprits along with stress and unhealthy eating habits," said Tiji Mathew.
"Ergonomics is the science of designing a job, equipment and/or workplace to fit the worker. The goal is to optimise the 'fit' between each worker and his or her work environment to optimise performance and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Computer ergonomics addresses ways to optimise your computer workstation to reduce the specific risks of computer-related neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and other disorders affecting the muscles, spine and joints," said T. Arun Kumar, chief physiotherapist, Lakshmi Hospital, Kochi.
"Posture correction at work and active lifestyle can help a lot in keeping away spinal issues. An ideal posture is one which has minimal muscular activity and load to core structures so that one can maintain it for long. In sitting, care has to be taken to maintain the normal spinal curves and lean against the chairback," said Tiji Mathew.
"Care should be taken not to protrude the head so that the ear is in line with the shoulders. The monitor should be in such a way that the upper one-third of the screen should be at eye level. Feet should rest on the floor and knee at almost right angles or feet slightly forward. The forearm should be supported and keyboard and mouse should be in the keyboard tray with wrist in neutral or slightly dropping down," said Tiji Mathew.
"Taking care of chair and monitor height for a minute before sitting should be a routine so that one can ensure the best posture. Stand for a while every hour so that you get a break from sustained posture. The next common posture is sleep where one has to relax for 6 to 8 hours. Proper spine support and alignment in sleep is essential so that the muscles relax well and one gets sound sleep.
Opting for an ergonomic chair and certified orthopaedic mattress to sleep can help in maintaining good spinal health as these are the two postures techies have to attend to," said Tiji Mathew.