Saturday, March 03, 2007

Are your classes a pain in the neck?

Students get MSD pains just like workers ...

“Ergonomics” is a word that has been getting a lot of attention in the workplace in recent decades. But even though student life is every bit as sedentary as most modern office jobs, it’s generally left up to young scholars to figure out this important health and wellness issues.

Dr. Biljana Durickovic is a chiropractor at Toronto’s downtown Source Centre for Health and Wellness. She said she sees many students come in with very preventable back pain.

The majority of students’ problems come from hours spent sitting at a desk and studying, sitting through lectures, working in front of computers and improperly wearing backpacks. Durickovic said students forget that simply sitting and reading can cause back problems.

Leaning over books at a table is especially bad. This puts strain in the muscles of the mid-back, a motion Durickovic likened to “repeatedly stretching an elastic band until it begins tearing.”

“Also, because students’ shoulders are rounded, they poke their chins out, and that adds a lot of stress to the discs in the neck,” she said. “A lot of students will come in with a headache that they can’t get rid of because of that.”

Students should be aware of numbness or tingling in the hands and legs and radiating pain through the legs, which are ergonomic warning signs. Pain in one area is often a symptom of improper positioning in another area.

Students need to make themselves aware of proper posture and positioning. Poor ergonomics in first year can turn into pain by third and fourth year, and often the repetitive strain injuries experienced in the workplace trace their roots back to university years.

“The thing to remember is that by the time someone is experiencing pain, they’ve generally had this problem for a long time,” she said. “It’s your body finally recognizing it as too much."    (Continued via CordWeekly)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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