A Chiropractic View of Ergonomics in the Work Place

Published on: Author: Anne Langton

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr Sarah Corcoran of Wicked Good Chiropractic in Mansfield, MA.  Dr Sarah has been a practicing Chiropractor for over ten years.  Chiropractic treatment is a natural safe, way to heal the body from pain, stiffness & soreness.   As an office designer, I am concerned with providing proper ergonomics through seating and positioning.  I was interested in finding out about the possible physical repercussions that can result when ergonomics go awry.  Dr Sarah confirmed she consistently sees a relationship between her patients’ ailments and their improper work stations. 

But first let me address…exactly what is ERGONOMICS?

Ergonomics is derived from the Latin word “ergo” which means “to work”.  Basically it studies how people interact with the tools we use in our daily lives and also provides recommendations for proven solutions or improvements in efficiency.  OK let’s boil it down even more…correct ergonomics allow us to do a job in comfort and without pain!

When telling the tale of ergonomics in the computerized work place, there are 4 main components…

  1. The Worker
  2. The  Keyboard or Desk Height
  3. The Monitor Screen
  4. The Chair

Okay, now onto the conversation with Dr Sarah…

Q and A by Anne Langton + Dr Sarah Corcoran

A.L.   Dr Sarah, what are the most common complaints that you see in your practice that could be attributed to improper ergonomics?

Dr.S   Without a doubt the biggest complaint that I see has to do with neck pain which is the result of “hunching” over while working.  This is caused by an improper forward posture…the head goes forward which changes the center of gravity.          

Other neck issues have to do with technology believe it or not.   A term coined  by a Chiropractor calls it “Text Neck”  This results from poor posture caused by today’s prevalent use of laptops, tablets and texting where we look down for long durations of time.  I even see 3 year olds playing with their parents phones…too much of this can establish bad postural habits in the long term.

I often suggest to patients (of all ages)…reverse position to avoid discomfort and damage.  For example if they are reading in a chair (chin to chest) then change position by lying on their stomach and read by looking up…reversing the position of the neck. 

Lower back pain is another common complaint.  Many times back issues are caused by the wrong type of chair or from sitting too long. I recommend every worker take a break at least once an hour.  Maybe even use an alert on your computer as a reminder.  Changing position is good.

A.L.   Do you get many complaints regarding wrists and carpal tunnel syndrome?

Dr.S   Not as much as neck and back issues.  Carpal tunnel pain is caused by overuse and improper positioning of the wrists.  Our goal is to relieve the structural strain and many times we can do this by using what’s called the Graston Technique.  This process breaks down scar tissue over the tunnel.  In some cases surgery can be avoided.  Treatment with early onset of symptoms is best.

A.L.   Do you see more women or men in your practice?

Dr.S   Wicked Good Chiropractic has about 50% of each.  I would say the biggest difference is that men tend to come in sooner when they are in pain.  Women, on the other hand, tend to wait until they can’t stand the discomfort any longer.  They tend to ignore their own needs because they are so busy taking care of others. My goal is to get people, out of pain so that they can continue their daily activities and live comfortably.

For more information about Dr Sarah Corcoran and the services offered at Wicked Good Chiropractic, go to www.wickedgoodchiro.com or call 508-339-1418


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