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What a Pain! Ergonomic tips and tactics that'll keep you healthy and free of pain

By David Doran

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Did you know your office can be hazardous to your health? Whilesitting at a desk staring at a computer for eight hours straightmay not be as dangerous as, say, cleaning up toxic waste, a poorlydesigned office space can still leave you hurting at the end of theday. And, in addition to the pain, computer-related injuries canseriously decrease your productivity at a critical time in thedevelopment of your business. We asked Chris Grant, whose F-1Ergonomics in Ann Arbor, Michigan, provides ergonomics consultingto businesses, about the four most common office-related injuries,their causes and what you can do to prevent them.

Eye, eye: Eyestrain symptoms include burning, tightness,sharp pains, watering, blurring, headaches and even double vision.There are many causes, including the flickering of old or dying CRT(cathode-ray tube) monitors and older, single-tube fluorescentlights, as well as reflected glare from computer screens. But mosteyestrain comes from focusing closely on CRT screens or printedmaterials for long periods of time. To give your eyes a rest, Grantsuggests following the "20/20 rule"--every 20 minutes,look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Pain in the neck: "The muscles in your upper backand neck can handle looking down for long periods of time, buteventually, your muscles have to work harder and harder to holdyour head up," Grant says. "[At some point], just lookingstraight ahead from a seated position can cause neck pain." Ifyou're having neck pain, try lowering your monitor; you shouldbe looking slightly downward.

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