You probably don’t think a lot about ergonomics. No one does. Then again, you probably have no idea where that back pain is coming from. Neither does your doctor. You might be tempted to chalk it up to an old sports injury back when you were in high school. But that excuse simply doesn’t fly for the millions of people with the same pain who never played sports a day in their life. Neck pain and migraine headaches are also frequently misdiagnosed. They are often written off as signs of stress. The real culprit might be a lot more physical than you think.

According to the US Department of Labor, attention to ergonomics can reduce the severity and instances of MSD’s in the workplace. An MSD is a musculoskeletal disorder. MSD is a non-diagnosis diagnosis. It is a mere description of your problem. In the same way, ergonomics is not some magic cure to your MSD. Ergonomics is the study of how things can be designed and arranged to fit the proper functioning of the human body. Many offices care about ergonomics only to the extent that it can make workers more efficient. You should care about it because it can make you healthier and less prone to injury. When it comes to the following products and workflows, ergonomics should be high on the list of concerns.

Office Desks and Work Tables

Have you considered what the proper desk height is for you? There are some good general rules to follow. One general rule is when it comes to desks, one size most definitely does not fit all. A tall person needs a taller desk than a person of average height. If your desk is too short, you are going to find yourself hunching over the desk to do basic things. If your desk is too tall, you will find yourself reaching up to your keyboard or raising your chair too high for you to keep both feet flat on the floor. That can lead to knee problems that will be written off as tendonitis.

In addition to height, your desk needs to be large enough to accommodate all of your necessary gear. You also need some free space for the unexpected. But there is a such thing as too much space. A desk too large will attract junk. And junk causes clutter. Clutter causes an ergonomic nightmare that is death to productivity. When your workspace is ergonomic, your work can be efficient and productive.

Your Bed

Most people sleep on a bed that is figuratively and literally an ergonomic nightmare. It does not factor in the shape, weight, and musculature of their body. It doesn’t matter if the bed is perfect for someone you know. What is important is that the bed be ergonomically right for you. If you don’t sleep alone, this can be a real challenge as the two people sharing the bed are often very different physically.

First, start with a bed that is long enough for the tallest person sleeping in it. If your feet hang off the edge of the bed, you can be certain that whatever support it is providing is not in the right place. Don’t worry about how to arrange a small bedroom with a queen bed. You might need a California king to fit your body. If one needs a firm bed while the other needs a softer one, get a bed that has individual customization for each side. If necessary, get two twin beds and push them together. The ergonomics of your night determine the productivity of your day.

Your Kitchen

When kitchens aren’t ergonomic, they can be deadly. Make sure the knives are where you can access them safely and comfortably. If you have to reach up high for them, you can accidentally pull the whole block of knives down on you. Keep the floors dry. Opt for a slip-free floor. That is much more important than fashion. Use a standing mat when working at the sink or cutting board. Don’t put heavy or awkward items on high shelves. Every ergonomic consideration in a kitchen is one you cannot afford to ignore.

Ergonomics is all about working with your body instead of against it. That is extremely important in the office, in the bedroom, and in the kitchen.

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