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Strike a pose: Avoid office injuries with good posture

There is a lot more to the right use of office posture than Madonna's famous line "strike a pose." Indeed, there's no "one" correct position for you or anyone else's body. Ergonomic experts now say that office posture is more about being dynamic. Remember Madonna's Vogue video? She and her modelesque counterparts were dynamically striking pose after pose.

Movement and change is key. You might even enjoy putting your feet up on another chair, moving into an odd position or even slumping for a period of time. The key is not to stay in the same position for too long because that's when the body stops circulating, muscles atrophy and things get stuck.

Since the most common office jockey ailments include neck, back, wrist and shoulder pain, let's look at a few things you can do to avoid these problems:

-- Change position throughout the day. Remember that Madonna song. Get creative!

-- Try lifting your computer monitor higher with a document stand or a number of books to reduce neck strain.

-- Have your keyboard at elbow height right in front of you. The key is typing with your wrists straight.

-- Put your computer monitor right in front of you so you're not cocking your body to one side.

-- Don't use your shoulder to hold the phone to your ear. This will strain your neck over time for sure.

-- Organize your workspace so you're not stooping, bending or reaching a lot.

-- When the boss or that high-stress client calls you, stay relaxed. Watch your muscle tension throughout the day, and you may notice you're unconsciously holding tension in your neck, shoulders, face or arms that is easy to release.

If a California worker does get injured due to sitting at a desk all day long, workers' compensation benefits may be available to pay for time spent unable to work and doctor's bills while getting better. After adequate medical care and rest, most office workers will be back to "Vogueing" at the office in no time at all.

Source: American Industrial Hygiene Association, "An Ergonomics Approach to Avoiding Office Workplace Injuries and Illnesses," accessed July 28, 2016

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