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Workstation
Discomfort Symptoms
and Solutions


Shoulder Wrist Neck Eyes Back Legs

This graphic illustrates the proper way to set up your workstation; if you are experiencing discomfort while at work, such as back pain or eye strain, click on the numbers above to match your symptoms with our solutions.

If you would like an assessment done by a professional staff, please follow directive given in our Ergonomic Assessment program

1. AREA OF DISCOMFORT: shoulder (left OR right;scroll down for pain in both shoulders)

RISK FACTORS HOW TO DECREASE RISK

Phone use is greater than one hour per day

1-2 hours per day:

  • Use speaker phone;
  • Use head set;
  • Hold phone with hand, don't cradle with neck
  • phone rest

2 or more hours a day:

  • Use speaker phone;
  • Use head set
Mouse position is too far from keyboard
  • Move closer to keyboard
Wiggling wrist while using the mouse
  • Move from elbow or forearm
Using mouse solely with right hand
  • Use mouse with left hand
Arm rest is too far apart and individual leans on one rest
  • Remove arm rests
  • Use arm rests that have vertical and horizontal adjustments
Lifting heavy items with one arm
  • Use two arms or reorganize office space
Keyboard drawer only holds keyboard
  • New, wider keyboard drawer that accommodates mouse
The mouse is too far away
  • Use keyboard with built-in mouse

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AREA OF DISCOMFORT: shoulders (both)

RISK FACTORS HOW TO DECREASE RISK
Keyboard is too far away, too high, or too low
    Options:
  • Bring keyboard closer,
  • Install keyboard drawer;
  • Raise chair height;
  • Keep arms at 90 degree angle when typing
Monitor too far away and person leans forward to view screen
  • Check vision prescription;
  • Tilt chair seat back and use backrest and footrest;
  • Bring monitor closer
Back rest on chair does not fit individual; low back and no shoulder support
  • Purchase chair with adjustable backrest
Arm rests are too high or too far apart
  • Set up armrests that are slightly wider apart than the shoulders;
  • Use arm rests with a vertical and horizontal adjustment

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2. AREA OF DISCOMFORT: wrist (left OR right; scroll down for both wrists)

RISK FACTORS HOW TO DECREASE RISK
Mouse is positioned far away from the keyboard; the wrist is bent at an awkward position; Mouse may be too low
  • Place mouse close to keyboard or on left side of keyboard
Tight pinch grip on pen and heavy writing
  • Use a soft pen grip
Keyboard is poorly placed
  • Align keyboard drawer at elbow height
Calculator is positioned too high or too far away
  • Place calculator on desk with wrist in a neutral position (straight wrist)

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AREA OF DISCOMFORT: wrists (both)

RISK FACTORS HOW TO DECREASE RISK
Keyboard is too high, too low, too far away
  • Place keyboard near elbow height with shoulders relaxed
Wrist rest is too high, too low, too hard, too soft, or in the way
  • Remove the wrist wrest or use one that is comfortable
Elbows are below the keyboard height and there is a crease in the forearm

Options:

  • Raise chair height and get a footrest;
  • Install a keyboard drawer;
  • Purchase soft foam on the edge of the table
Repetitive job without variety

Options:

  • Take frequent breaks;
  • Work on stretching exercises;
  • Redesign job with more variety;
  • Reduce outside activities involving highly repetitive hand motion

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3. AREA OF DISCOMFORT: neck

RISK FACTORS HOW TO DECREASE RISK
Monitor is too far away and head is tilted forward or person is nearsighted
  • Bring monitor closer, up to 15-20 inches away (roughly arms length away), or change vision prescription
Mouse is too far to one side, too high, or too far forward
  • Move mouse closer to keyboard height
Documents on desk or documents too far to one side
  • Place the document and the monitor at height that allows neck to be neutral (straight)
Individual wears bifocals and tilts head back
  • Lower monitor and bring monitor closer (approximately 15 inches or arms length away)
  • Wear computer glasses
Monitor too low, neck tilted forward
  • Raise monitor
Phone cradled between neck and shoulder

Phone use 1-2 hours per day:

  • Use speaker phone;
  • Use head set;
  • Hold phone with hand, don't cradle with neck
  • Use phone rest

Phone use 2 or more hours a day:

  • Use speaker phone;
  • Use head set

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4. AREA OF DISCOMFORT: eye strain

RISK FACTOR HOW TO DECREASE RISK
Monitor tilted too far away
  • Change monitor position
Direct light in eyes
  • Reduce light, use glare screen or change monitor position
Low relative humidity and dry eyes
  • Wear glasses instead of contacts
  • Close eyes, cover eyes with hands and relax eyes
Eyeglass prescription too weak or too strong
  • Change eyeglass prescription
Monitor too high
  • Lower monitor
  • Keep neck straight
  • Purchase adjustable height monitor
Monitor off to side
  • Center monitor

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5. AREA OF DISCOMFORT: low back pain

RISK FACTORS HOW TO DECREASE RISK
Chair back is down at bottom of seat; seat pan is too long

Options:

  • Adjust back height;
  • Make sure seat pan is the correct depth;
  • Adjust seat pan tilt;
  • Purchase chair with shallow seat pan or sliding seat pan
Feet are dangling from chair
  • Use a footrest to allow thighs to be parallel to floor
Keyboard in poor location or too far forward
  • Move keyboard closer
Back injury or medical condition prevents sitting for long periods
  • Use a sit stand workstation
  • Use a standing workstation for writing
  • Add beveled floor mat to relieve stress on feet

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6. AREA OF DISCOMFORT: legs

RISK FACTORS HOW TO DECREASE RISK
Chair seat is too big; individual has to sit forward or cross legs to relieve discomfort

Options:

  • Purchase chair with adjustable, sliding seat pan
  • Purchase chair with smaller seat pan
  • Use foot rest to alleviate pressure on the back of the leg
  • Short term: use lumbar support to shorten seat
Chair seat too small; poor weight distribution
  • Adjust seat pan
  • Purchase chair with longer seat

- Pain in buttocks
- Knees higher than hip (usually problem for tall people)

  • Raise chair height
  • Raise height of keyboard
Pain in calf or back of thigh below knee
  • Install foot rest
  • Install keyboard drawer (attempt to get thigh angle parallel to floor
Top of leg hurts, can't cross legs
  • Table top too thick; purchase a thinner table

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