Recently I helped a client adjust her chair to better reach the arm rests of her chair to reduce tension in her neck and shoulders. She had done a fantastic job of repositioning her monitors and keyboard, but we found that her arm rest height was too low for her to rest her arms comfortably on the chair as she worked.
After we found some potential fixes for her workstation, I thought I’d share some resources with Working Well Resource readers in case you are having similar problems with your chair. For starters, if your arm rest are not adjustable and you can’t reach them, you may need arm rest pads or a new chair. If you do not have a way to rest your arms as you work on your desk or computer keyboard, your poor shoulders have to hold your arms up all day. That may not seem like a big deal, but think about it, if you went tot he gym and had to hold a 5-pound weight or even a 1-pound weight up in front of you for 8 hours, your arms would be exhausted! And you likely wouldn’t even be able to hold the weight for that long no matter how strong you are. But that is what many of us expect our bodies to do at work.
Ergononmic Resources for Arm Rests
OSHA has some of the best information about workstation ergonomics and office chairs here.
Anne Asher, from About.com Guide, has great tips on office chair ergonomics in her article, Before You Decide on Office Chair Arm Rest Adjustments. This post describes optimum settings to adjust your chair for the most ergonomic Arm Rest Height, arm rest width and rm rest pivot as well as how to handle Non-Adjustable Armrests and the Armless Chair.
And here is a great tutorial from Prometheus Training Corporation, explaining self assessment tools you can use to determine if your workstation is set up as ergonomically as possible. The video is a bit dry, but the graphics and information presented is excellent!