Back Pain? It is Time to Go Ergonomic with Your Office Chair
Some jobs require a lot of bodywork like heavy-lifting, repetitive routines, and long hours of standing. These daily activities put a lot of work and pressure on your back, causing a sharp and uncomfortable feeling. But aside from these physically demanding jobs, repetitive office work and inactivity also contribute to back pain. Add the unhealthy lifestyle, improper posture, and lack of proper exercise to the list.
While you cannot control the nature of your work, you can get some items that will help you improve your posture and reduce the risk of having back injuries.
What are the causes of back pain?
To help you reduce the risk of back pain, you have to be familiar with the common reasons why you experience back pain in your office.
1. Prolonged inactivity
You are prone to experiencing back pains if you often do inactive work like sitting in front of your computer for hours. When you sit with improper posture for hours, you bring unnecessary pressure to your back. Prolonged sitting in one position is also unhealthy for your back.
2. Repetitive tasks
Repetitive tasks that involve twisting your back strain your muscles.
3. Exerting too much force on your back
Heavy manual activities like lifting heavy objects cause pressure to your back and other body muscles.
4. Unhealthy lifestyle
Your habit of snacking on your desk, smoking, and lack of exercise contribute to back pain and other health conditions.
Building a healthy lifestyle and work habits will help you avoid back pain and improve your overall health. Take these few steps to get started:
1. Avoid prolonged sitting. Make sure to set a time to stand up and stretch your body while at work. Even when working at home, you need to take your break and eat your snacks outside your workstation. This is to help blood circulate properly and reduce the pressure exerted on your back. If experiencing back pain, use hot or cold packs to relieve the pain. Hot packs help in releasing the muscle tension while cold packs are efficient for reducing the inflammation.
2. Practice proper posture. Push your back flat to your office chair. Make sure your seat height is adjusted based on your needs (your feet should be flat on the floor). Recline your chair in a position where both of your upper and lower back are supported.
3. Keep your office items near your reach. To reduce frequent twisting and extending of your hands to reach something, keeping your office items closer to your workstation is important. A mobile pedestal or an open shelf will give easy access to essential materials. Adjust your monitor height. To prevent slouching, you have to set your monitor at eye level. You should be able to look at your monitor naturally without the need to tilt or lower your head. This will greatly help you in maintaining a right sitting posture. Also, make sure that your monitor’s brightness is just right. When your monitor is too dark, you tend to lean closer to properly see your tasks.
4. Stay active. Take time to exercise within the day. Regular exercise helps build strong muscles and promotes healthy blood circulation. Strengthening your core will help you support your upper back, reducing the pressure that your lower back experiences. It is also crucial to keep a healthy body weight to reduce the risk of back pain and any other medical conditions attached to inactivity.
What is an Ergonomic Office Chair?
An ergonomic office chair is specially designed to help improve your sitting posture. They are highly adaptable to ensure the human body's healthy posture and comfort.
This efficient unit features:
An excellent ergonomic office chair provides multiple benefits and special features that can adapt to your specific needs.
1. A good ergonomic chair is adjustable. You can adjust your seat height, backrest, and armrest based on your specific needs and comfort preference.
3. A good ergonomic chair provides lumbar support. As part of promoting proper posture, an ergonomic office chair offers adequate support to your lower back. Constant leaning position while working strains the lower back, creating an unnatural C-curve that causes back pain. An ergonomic office chair is designed to maintain the natural S-curve, reducing the pressure from your back.
4. A good ergonomic office chair promotes the proper lower body and hip alignment. Because of its specialised design, an ergonomic chair follows your natural body contour, aligning your hips and lower body.
5. A good ergonomic office chair improves your overall comfort.
How to set up an ergonomic office chair?
It is not enough that you have an ergonomic office chair to prevent back pain. The proper setup of your home office and the practice of appropriate posture are equally important factors to work on to ensure the effectiveness of your ergonomic chair.
In setting up your workstation, you have to make sure to be comfortable and secure. Here are some steps that you can follow:
- Adjust your chair based on your height. Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor when you sit. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips and positioned in a relaxed manner. Leave at least 2 to 3 inches between the end of your seat and the back of your knees. Do not cross your legs. This hinders the proper blood flow.
- Push your hips to the back of your chair until the backrest contours your natural S-curved. Adjust your backrest to recline at least 100 to 110°. This is to reduce the pressure on your spine. Your head and neck should be aligned above your shoulders. Avoid leaning on your side to keep your weight properly distributed.
- If your chair has armrests, make sure to adjust them in a way that can help your shoulders to relax.
- Position your computer screen directly at the centre in front of you. Adjust your screen to a comfortable position approximately 2 inches above your seated eye level. The right position for your computer screen will prevent you from tilting your neck downwards, which according to studies, doubles the feel of its weight.
- If positioned near your window, you need to get a dim window treatment like curtains or blinds to prevent direct sunlight from obstructing your vision. This will lessen the episodes of your slouching to correctly see what is on your screen.
- Place all necessary office items within your reach. To easily move your office chair, get a variety that comes with casters.
- Remember to take some breaks, stand up for a while and do some stretching.
Aside from reaching your deadlines and doing great at work, another thing that you should also prioritise is your health. You do not have to suffer for long hours of uncomfortable sitting. Train your body to follow healthy habits and treat yourself with an ergonomic solution to your back problem.