Reducing Pain at the Radiology Workstation

Reducing Pain at the Radiology Workstation


A survey recently published in Academic Radiology and led by Dr. Helena Bentley, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, provides 8 ways to help reduce musculoskeletal pain and discomfort from the radiology workstation. The team noted that familiarity with ergonomics is linked to decreased musculoskeletal pain. So the radiologist community with more knowledge of ergonomics can utilize this ability to reduce work-related discomfort.

Bentley notes that little research exists that evaluates ergonomics in radiology. Her team of investigators utilized a questionnaire study sent to radiologists, including 191 radiology residents and radiologists belonging to the Canadian Association of Radiologists. Slightly over 60% worked in academic settings, with three-quarters being staff radiologists. The survey questions explored their experiences with radiology workstation ergonomics and musculoskeletal pain.

The study revealed that 78.5% of the radiologists experienced musculoskeletal discomfort/pain, and over 90% reported that their discomfort adversely impacted their productivity. Two common reasons cited for discomfort were:

  • The top of the monitor was not at eye level
  • Wrists were not flat and straight when using their mouse

The study team recommended 8 ways to help alleviate discomfort at radiology workstations.

  1. Place your chair arm’s length from the monitor and adjust the top height to eye level.
  2. Use a chair that provides lumbar support.
  3. Be sure that the chair is appropriate for your body size, i.e., the entire length of your thighs is supported by the chair seat.
  4. Position yourself on the seat, so there are three finger widths between the back of your knee and the chair.
  5. Relax your shoulders and arms.
  6. Maintain your hands at shoulder width and keep your wrists flat.
  7. Keep your elbows at your sides and at 90 degrees.
  8. Maintain your feet flat on the floor.

The study group ended with sound advice —paying attention to radiology workstation ergonomics increases efficiency and productivity while decreasing musculoskeletal pain.