I’ve spent a good portion of my life sitting at a desk and most of it has been uncomfortable! Either the chair is too small or the desk is too low or I’m hunched over my laptop. That type of thing is easily dismissed when you’re younger but it catches up with you over time. There must be some solace in the fact that I’m not alone: Millions of people are sitting in badly designed chairs or in a position that can cause chronic back pain and suffering.
Enter ergonomics, the study of the workplace as it relates to the worker. Ergonomics can help prevent work-related back pain and back injury and help maintain a healthy back.
Yet, the concept of how to sit or stand in relation to the work one does is still new to many people. Many understand the concept but still don’t have a clue on putting it into practice. Here’s the thing: Knowing proper techniques and proper chair design will help you improve your back’s health.
According to MayoClinic.org, “Back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries and is often caused by ordinary work activities such as sitting in an office chair or heavy lifting.” The goal of an ergonomics program is to adapt the workplace to the worker. Taking into consideration required tasks and the employee performing those tasks. Poor body mechanics (such as slouching in an office chair), prolonged activity, repetitive motions, and fatigue are major contributors to office injuries.
Office Chair Mechanics
Office ergonomics can help minimize the risk of repetitive injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and the risks associated with prolonged sitting in an office chair, such as neck strain, lower back pain, and leg pain. A consistent, comfortable workstation, points out the Mayo Clinic, “depends on where the computer screen is situated, where the hands and feet are placed with relation to the desk and the kind of office chair.”
Prevent Injury While Sitting
Posture is important for sitting in office chairs and at a workstation. Many of us spend hours in front of the computer, resulting in back pain or neck pain. Much of this pain, points out WebMD, may be avoided by a combination of:
- Adopting a user-friendly workstation by adjusting the office chair, computer and desk positioning.
- Modifying sitting posture in an office chair. The better seated posture is to sit back in the office chair and utilize the chair’s lumbar support to keep the head and neck erect.
- Taking stretch breaks and walking breaks if sitting in an office chair for long periods of time.
How to Sit
WebMD also explains that there is a proper way to sit: The trick is choosing the surface height for the desk (standing, sitting or semi-seated) that matches the work to be performed. The specific height of the work surface will also need to vary based on the height of the individual worker:
Adjust the seat of the office chair so that the work surface is “elbow high.” The backrest of the office chair should push the low back forward slightly. If these adjustments cannot be adequately made with the existing office chair, a different make or type of chair may be considered.
And no matter what you do, daily exercise is paramount to improving your posture and flexibility. Staying physically fit, strong and flexible cuts down the risk of having a back injury no matter what type of work environment.
The Joint at Avondale Gateway Crossing is your first stop for improving your overall flexibility and health. Come in for a visit and you’ll see how chiropractic therapy can keep you standing (or sitting) straight and tall.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.