Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Content loading spinner


Are your work desk and chair customized to your body? A healthy work environment can keep you comfortable and protect you from injuries. Good ergonomics creates a work environment that fits your body, allowing you to keep up with the demands of your job.

What Is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of finding the best fit between the demands of your job and your work environment.

Did you ever get a neckache from holding the phone to your ear with your shoulder instead of your hand? Or how about a backache from lifting too many heavy boxes? These are examples of injuries caused by poor ergonomics.

Whether you work at a desk or in a warehouse, you may find yourself making similar movements or performing similar tasks every day. Over time, holding a phone or lifting boxes daily can cause you discomfort or pain or even develop into more serious health problems. Hundreds of thousands of injuries related to work conditions are reported every year. Many of these could be prevented with proper ergonomics.

The basics of ergonomics

Your ability to do your job well and stay healthy may depend on good ergonomics. A healthy workplace has advantages for everyone:

  • Increased on-the-job comfort
  • Reduced injury
  • Higher worker satisfaction
  • Higher productivity

Poor ergonomics, on the other hand, can lead to painful injuries.

Additional References:

Common Workplace Injuries

Many common workplace injuries are related to poor ergonomics. Common injuries include:

  • Bursitis: Bursitis is inflammation in the small sac of fluid that cushions an area where tissues – including bone, tendon, or muscles – rub against each other. Pain and swelling often result, most commonly in the elbow, shoulder, hip, or knee. Repeated twisting or rapid joint movements or an underlying condition can cause bursitis.
  • Tendon problems: Tendons connect muscles to bones. There are two conditions related to tendon problems. Tendinitis occurs when a tendon becomes inflamed. Tendinitis most commonly affects the Achilles tendon (large tendon at the back of your ankle) and patellar tendon (tendon connecting your kneecap, or patella, to your shinbone). Tendinosis occurs when the tendons develop long-term changes from wear and tear. Both tendinitis and tendinosis can happen as a result of jnjury or repeated tendon use, such as walking, jumping, or running.
  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI): RSI is the name given to a wide variety of injuries characterized by generalized pain and weakness. They usually involve discomfort in the arms, wrists, upper back, shoulders, or hands and often affect more than one area. Mechanical, repetitive tasks may cause the condition. The most common RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS): This is a painful condition of the hands and wrists caused by pressure on the nerve that runs from the shoulder down your arm to your hands. The common symptoms of CTS are pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in your hand. The main cause is overbending at your wrists and repeated or forceful hand movements, such as typing on a keyboard.
  • Back pain: Back pain is very common; about 80% of people in the U.S. suffer from back pain at some time in their lives. The pain can be caused by a short-term injury or worsen slowly over time. Poor posture and incorrect ergonomics are the major culprits.
  • Eye problems: Frequent computer use can cause eye fatigue, blurred vision, burning eyes, or headaches. These eye problems are referred to by optometrists as computer vision syndrome (CVS). CVS results from not blinking enough, bright lighting from or around your computer, or not wearing the correct prescription glasses.
Additional References:

Symptoms to Watch

Ideally, taking steps to arrange your work environment to avoid injury will pay off, and you will not experience work-related aches and pains. But if you do feel discomfort or physical awkwardness performing day-to-day tasks, you may need to find the right "fix" before it is too late.

The most common ergonomic issues can eventually result in one or more symptoms:  

  • Pain, numbness, stiffness, or tingling in your wrists, lower arms, or elbows
  • Pain or stiffness in your neck or back
  • Cramping
  • Reduced grip strength
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Dry or irritated eyes

Assessing Your Risk

You may want to consider your ergonomics if you do any of the following activities on a regular basis:

  • Repetitive motions, including keyboard use
  • Frequent lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying of heavy objects
  • Prolonged sitting in one position or sitting in awkward postures
  • Exposure to vibration (often from power tools)
  • Frequent forceful movements
  • Working in a work space that is poorly set up for necessary tasks
  • Regularly standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time
Assessing your workstation

Assessing your workstation can help decrease your risk of injury. In general, good ergonomics involves attention to:

  • The physical setup of the workspace
  • The tools, equipment, or controls that are used
  • Lighting, displays, and monitors
  • Your size in relation to the workspace
  • Your functional abilities or limitations
  • Appropriate ways of moving within the work setting

Many companies offer ergonomic assessments. Check with your manager, supervisor, or human resources department to see what options are available to you. 

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder. This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

Content loading spinner