Stop Slouching! A National Ergonomics Conference Session Looks at the Power of Good Posture as an Injury Prevention Tool

A pair of new virtual sessions from the National Ergonomics Conference premiering on May 18 will focus on the importance of posture and everyday movements to solve chronic pain.
By: | May 11, 2021

When people think of workplace ergonomics, it’s easy to summon to mind images of exoskeletons and other tools that can make strenuous tasks safer. Less easy to imagine are the ways in which little, everyday motions like clicking a mouse or slouching can have an affect on the body.

A pair of new virtual sessions from the National Ergonomics Conference premiering on May 18 will focus on the importance of posture and everyday movements to solve chronic pain.

“An Evidence Based Injury Prevention Solution to Combating WMSDs in the Workplace: Posture, Pain and Performance” from Michael Gee, founder of Pro Fit Ergonomic Solutions and ACM 360 PRO will pull from Gee’s personal experience as a professional motocross athlete and his extensive office ergonomics assessments to explore how the risk of Workplace Musculosketal disorders (WMSDs) can be reduced.

Then, Alicia Crelinsten, founder of ReAlign Consulting, will provide another layer of perspective on posture through her presentation “Every Movement Matters: How Changing Posture and Movement Habits Can Reduce Injuries” which will help bridge the gap between high performance sport and a high performance life.

Approaching Ergonomics from a Sports Medicine Perspective

During Gee’s session he plans  to walk the audience through a simple six-step ACM Movement Pattern Assessment and the proven corrective exercise approach that is the foundation to combating the increased risk of  WMSDs.

“My background isn’t really ergonomics, its sports medicine and physical therapy,” said Gee.

Michael Gee, founder, PRO FIT Ergonomic Solutions

“One of the big things I learned really early on working with clients in the clinical setting was that a lot of these injuries to me seem like they could have been prevented. I felt that there was something missing in this whole picture of rehab – I wasn’t seeing my clients getting better like the books told me they were going to.”

In the process of investigating this disparity, Gee learned from his own injury experiences and came upon a solution.

“I’ve had a lot of injuries myself – six knee surgeries, dislocated shoulders, mostly from racing motocross professionally,” Gee explained.

“A big part of my recovery was learning biomechanics. It didn’t matter what sport, what gender, or what we did for our profession, our body is the constant in the whole equation. I started applying this biomechanical knowledge I developed to this program called ACM – Assess, Correct and Move.”

According to Gee, ACM represents an evolution in ergonomics because biomechanical correction can provide more benefit to the individual for far less cost than an intervention based on specialized equipment.

Indeed, just the ergonomic office chair market revenue was $7,961 million in 2019 and will reach $10,138 million in 2025, with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 4.11% during 2020-2025, according to Market Insights Reports.

“I did over 700 work station assessments for one company over a three-year span. They had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new products and people were still in pain,” Gee recalled.

“When I intervened with my corrective approach, exercise, et cetera, it turned everything around. We reduced our costs from over $100,000 a year just to replace equipment to $20,000 by eliminating things that people thought they needed. You don’t need ergonomic products so much as you need to fix the body’s posture, the body goes with you everywhere.”

From his session, Gee hopes attendees will walk away empowered by posture. “The signs of an injury are there long before they happen. Fix the actual problem, not just the symptoms,” he said.

Put a Premium on Good Posture

Crelinsten, the second presenter on the 18th, will provide additional perspective on posture, with a background similar to Gee’s based in sports medicine and the world of elite athletes.

“I’m an athletic therapist and trainer coming from high performance sports,” Crelinsten explained.

Alicia Crelinsten, founder, ReAlign Consulting

“I spent the beginning of my career working with Olympic athletes, Paralympic athletes, and Cirque du Soleil artists, and I realized we really need to be helping everyone fix their posture. The more we can integrate better body mechanics into our workforce, the more we can do to fix chronic neck and back pain.”

Crelinsten believes that the devaluing of posture, the introduction of mobile devices, and the lack of training on proper biomechanics have all contributed to an epidemic or poor posture and the types of injuries that often accompany it across all areas of the workforce.

“I work a lot in industry now and some simple exercises integrated into the workday regularly will fix and create a better neutral spine and eliminate some of the chronic issues that come from a bad mechanical position,” she said.

“Posture is important, and every movement really does matter. We can’t just be flopping over with a rounded spine.”

According to Crelinsten, this is especially important when it comes to intensely physical work in injury prone occupations.

“People with a physical job forward flex 45 degrees thousands of times a day,” she said.

“And for desk jockeys, it’s about a thousand times a day. If we don’t think about that, we’re creating problems in our back and over time it will result in back pain, and unfortunately, over 80 percent of people will experience back pain to the extent that they’ll have to miss a day of work.”

Crelinsten founded ReAlign to eliminate preventable injuries. In her experience as an athletic therapist and strength and conditioning specialist with Team Canada, Olympic athletes, Cirque du Soleil performers, industrial athletes, and office workers, she has discovered that people are not learning the basics, until it is often too late. ReAlign focuses on assessing the baseline risks, customizing an intervention plan, and then re-assessing to ensure improvements and progress.

Gee is a speaker, author and founder of PRO FIT Ergonomic Solutions Inc. and ACM 360 PRO. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science and Athletic Training and is a Certified Athletic Trainer. He is an Injury Prevention and Recovery expert and the developer of the ACM Corporate Exercise Therapy Specialist Certification Courses.

Both presentations, “Evidence Based Injury Prevention” and “Every Movement Matters” will air together on May 18th, 2021 beginning at 2 PM ET for a one hour duration. Registration is available via the ErgoExpo website here. &

National Ergonomics Conference and ErgoExpo is back and planning an exciting program for 2021. We’re eager to bring everyone together to share the tools and ideas that will move our community forward through the challenging times ahead.

We’re eager to get face-to-face with our friends and peers again — safely in our Vegas home at the Paris Hotel, November, 2-5, 2021. We’re currently building an exciting program for the show and look forward to seeing everyone in-person while still adhering to all safety protocols set forth by local and national health authorities at the time of the event.

The National Ergonomics Conference is proud to continue to offer thought-provoking ideas and tangible tools and strategies to help ergonomic and safety professionals improve productivity, product quality and profitability while reducing workplace injuries. This year, we’ll feature five tracks — program management, office ergonomics, advances in ergonomics technologies, industrial ergonomics and safety, and health care ergonomics, aging and wellness.

In the meantime, we’ll continue bringing you free virtual, educational content through our digital sessions series. Register today so that you never miss a session and check out our ever-growing library of on-demand sessions today!

Nina Luckman is a business journalist based in New Orleans, focusing primarily on the workers' compensation industry. Over the last several years, Nina has served as Editor of Louisiana Comp Blog, a news site she started in 2014 under the auspices of a group self-insurance fund. She can be reached at [email protected].

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