What is “Ergonomics” and an “Ergonomic Evaluation”?
Roughly translated, “ergonomics” is Greek for “fitting a job to the person.” In modern practice, the term has come to encompass the art and science of helping people use the tools in their life more efficiently in order to prevent injury and chronic physical problems.
Those “tools” can range from literal implements such as a hammer or a laptop, to larger equipment you rely on in order to function in your daily life, including your desk, chair and even your car.
Along with the objects in your life, the tasks themselves often need evaluating. An ergonomics specialist determines through an ergonomic evaluation, if workplace requirements or home responsibilities are physically suited to individual clients — and if not, what can be done about it
Why do patients usually seek out an ergonomics specialist?
Most people will only seek out advice/education on this topic if they are having some sort of symptoms. This is of course important so you can correct the issues at hand, treat the symptoms and prevent them from coming back. BUT it’s great to be proactive…..We spend hours doing our jobs which can put us in all sorts of positions that our body has to try to combat. Someone trained in ergonomics can help advise you in the body mechanics and ergonomics to stave off issues in the first place.
What happens during an ergonomic evaluation?
Both the worker and his or her environment are evaluated during a session with an ergonomics specialist-our physical therapist. Often, this involves the workplace, but other places in which the patient frequently needs to be can also be evaluated. (If he or she is caring for a family member, for example, or is pursuing a serious extracurricular activity like sports or the arts.)
Seeing the patient in his or her environment helps the ergonomic specialist evaluate the patient’s method of pursuing the work, the nature of the work and its equipment, and the patient’s general capacities for doing that work.
Often, subtle changes to equipment or to body movement can help ease chronic pain and reduce the risk of injury. But there are times in which it takes the credibility of a certified specialist to make those changes happen in the workplace or relevant environment.
If you’ve been injured at work and need a consultation, or simply want to know how to lower your incidences of pain and injury at the job or elsewhere, contact our physical therapist at BodyFiT Physical Therapy in Avon to learn more about our Ergonomics program and to schedule an appointment. We can help you make the adjustments you need for a more productive, pain-free life.