Dr. Natalia Ruiz is a senior physical therapist at the NYU Langone Orthopedic Center. She has been a physical therapist for 16 years and has worked at the hospital for 14 years in the areas of orthopedic rehabilitation, occupational health, and chronic pain. She currently works in the hand therapy department. She became an American Physical Therapy Association board-certified specialist in orthopedics in 2016 and a board certified hand therapist in 2018. In addition to physical therapy, she also collaborates with the NYU HR department addressing ergonomics for employees, as well as NYU Langone Hospitals Corporative Services with ergonomic consultations for other companies. She received her doctorate in physical therapy at Long Island University and has advanced degrees in Ergonomics from NYU and in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation from Drexel University.
In this interview, she discusses how to go about making a workspace in the home more comfortable and some ways in which basic ergonomic principles can be applied; basic instruments and specific analytical tools used to diagnose conditions that require some form of remediation; the role of telehealth in being able to view an individual’s home workspace and also being able to demonstrate techniques involving physical exercise; addressing how to recognize bodily strain from prolonged sitting; health problems that can arise from sitting in an awkward position at a computer and having to incorporate speed and repetitive motions involved in frequent swipes of tabloid screens using one’s hands; how factors, such as age, gender, and body weight must be taken into account from an ergonomics perspective; importance of breathing exercises not only for stress control, but to improve oxygenation; taking active breaks; staying active when not employed; and ergonomic studies it may be worth launching as a means of improving the health status of individuals whose employment involves staying at home.