ErgoPractice News – January 2014
Most of us are very busy and work hard to take care of all the urgent things in our lives. But we often lose sight of a very important thing: our health and fitness. Before we address 2014’s seven habits for health and fitness, I would like to share a story.
After SurgiTel was created and ever since I have heard the same stories again and again; stories about neck pain with traditional loupes and relief of neck pain with SurgiTel ergonomic loupes. I would like to tell you these stories, all in one. This story is about a doctor I will call Dr. Wise.
Dr. Wise joined a practice after finishing his training. One of his senior surgeons who had been practicing there for several years told him “I’ve been having neck pain because of my old, bad pillow. So my wife has bought a new pillow.” Another senior surgeon who had been practicing for many years told him “I’ve developed a major neck injury. I may need surgery.” Dr. Wise heard too many stories like this to relate them to coincidence or to bad pillows.
He observed the working postures of other surgeons at the practice. All the surgeons (including him) were using traditionally designed TTL (through-the-lens) loupes. He saw senior surgeons tilting their heads excessively to see through their loupes (see Figure 1). He noticed these traditionally designed TTL loupes have a very shallow declination (or look-down) angle and force users to excessively tilt their heads, causing surgeons’ chronic pain and eventually injury.
Dr. Wise looked for an alternative and found one at a surgeon’s meeting with SurgiTel. He replaced his traditional loupe with an ergonomic loupe from SurgiTel which allowed him to maintain a comfortable, neutral neck posture. With this ergonomic loupe, he was finally able to work correctly and eliminate his neck stress.
Dr. Wise shared his experience with other surgeons who were suffering from chronic neck pain and injury. Soon, they decided to follow suit and retired their old traditionally designed loupes and replaced them with SurgiTel’s patented ergonomic loupes. The surgeon who thought neck surgery was unavoidable was soon performing long procedures without having serious neck pain. He was able to avoid surgical treatment simply by changing his working posture, aided by ergonomic loupes.
The practice with multiple clinicians suffering from neck pain is real. The doctor who mistakenly assigned his pain to his pillow is real. The doctor who was on the verge of neck surgery and was able to avoid the procedure by treating the cause is real. Clinicians who have alleviated and even eliminated pain by upgrading their loupes and posture are real. I hear these stories every year.
Just as Dr. Wise did, you can protect yourself from chronic neck pain with the right equipment and habits. Even if you already have chronic neck pain, it is not too late. Practicing ergonomically is not difficult but it requires an evaluation of your equipment, including loupes and headlights, and how they affect your working posture. 2014 can be your new start.
Enhance your health and fitness in 2014 with seven habits listed below:
- Learn the right working postures. The ideal head tilt is less than 25 degrees (see Figure 2, and for further details, read our Oct. 2013 ErgoPractice eNews). At first, rotating your eyes downward to see your work area instead of tilting your head may feel odd, but it is not difficult to get used to. Some people initially feel eye strain but this is soon overcome. This is the same adjustment experience some have when learning to use bifocal eyeglasses.
- Examine your working postures regularly by taking photos or videos. Ask a colleague or an assistant to take some videos of you working (see Figure 3). You may be surprised to see the contortions you put yourself through as you work. If you are not working with the proper posture, you owe it to yourself to make the changes in equipment and habits to protect your health.
- Optimize the declination angle of your loupes for different procedures if your loupes allow you to make adjustments. SurgiTel’s customizable/adjustable FLM (Front-Lens-Mounted) loupes allow you to achieve any declination angle you may need (see Figure 4).
- Replace improper loupes with ergonomic loupes if your loupes do not support an ergonomic posture. Most traditionally designed loupes (both TTL and FLM loupes) have small declination angles.
- Listen to your body. If you feel pain in any part of your body, do not ignore it! Consult with ergonomic and/or health care experts.
- Stretch before starting procedures. Different professions may benefit from different stretching techniques. Physical therapists or ergonomists may teach you the best stretching techniques for your work.
- Exercise regularly to maintain your health and fitness. Daily exercise will not only help your physical health but also promotes greater productivity and a better mood.
These seven habits not only help you to stay healthy but also improve your work performance. The first SurgiTel’s ergonomic loupe was introduced about 20 years ago to help clinicians work with a comfortable and healthy neck posture. Today SurgiTel has become the industry leader in ergonomic innovation, offering a family of lightweight ergonomic loupes (both TTL and FLM loupes), lightweight portable headlights, and ErgoComfort operator chairs/stools. SurgiTel also offers companion products such as laser and x-ray filters, and fiber optic headlights which can be attached to loupes and used with existing fiber optic light sources.
To learn how your loupes may be affecting your work and health, please contact your local SurgiTel representative. Start 2014 by making a decision to invest in your health and fitness by building a Total Ergonomic Solution for your workplace.
- October 2013 ErgoPractice News, From The President, titled: “Demystifying Custom Loupes.” Stored: http://www.surgitel.com/news/