Desk Chairs for Back Pain
On the subject of workplace hazards and injuries, many people assume that it is the heavy lifting jobs that produce the most ER admissions and primary care appointments related to back pain. In fact, many people who work in office environments also have a high percentage of back problems as well. There are three main factors associated with back pain and desk job work:
Effects of our desks and desk environments on our backs: The medical community is somewhat divided about what the best sitting position in an office chair is. Until recently, there was a consensus in the medical community that the best position for your back was in the fully upright position, at a 90 degree angle to your legs. Other medical specialists, such as Waseem Amir Bashir, MBChB, believe that a 135 degree angle will put the least amount of stress on the back. Most experts are in agreement that office chairs should offer lumbar support; and those that are sitting should spend little time leaning forward at their desks. The slouching and leaning positions stretch the spinal ligaments and add stress to the discs of the spine, as well as the muscles involved with its movement and support. People, who spend long periods of time in desk environments, should purchase office chairs that allow them the ability to sit upright or lean back at this 30 degree angle.
- People sit at their desks too much. A long period of sitting during the day actually puts a lot of stress on the back. More so than standing and many types of lifting movements.
- People sit in their chairs badly. The way that you sit at your chair and interact with the workstation around you may affect the health of your back.
- Outside of work, you also lead a sedentary lifestyle that causes your spine to be improperly supported. If your lifestyle involves fitness and exercises to maintain the strength of your back and abdominal muscles, you may not be as negatively affected by the first two factors mentioned above.
How to Set Up and Sit at Your Desk: Many businesses and executives have learned that is better to pay more for good ergonomic office products now in order to avoid business losses later - associated with back pain. Desk chairs for back pain are those that are ergonomically designed chairs with good lower back support. Most furniture manufacturers have redesigned their current products that offer an office environment that puts far less stress on the lower back.
Your back has four curves that move closer to the front of your body, and away from it - from its top to bottom. The lumbar curve of your lower back includes a curve that bends towards the front of your body. The back of your office chair should have a shape that complements this natural body curve, rather than just being straight from to bottom.
Do you have an old office chair and are unable to afford a new one? If so, you should take a rolled up towel and place it in the space between your lower back and the chair's back. This will fill in the empty space where your lower back would have been between yourself and the chair's back.
Once your lumbar spine is fully supported, you should adjust the seat of the chair so that your feet are flat to the ground. Your entirely lower body should be able to fit under the table of the desk, and you should be able to interact with your entire workstation without having to lean forward. As you are using your computer mouse and keyboard, your hands and wrist should be horizontal to the table.
Your entire body should be in a series of 90 degree angles to one another. Your upper leg should be at a 90 degree angle to your lower leg. Your head should remain perpendicular to the floor and everything should be located directly in front of you so that you do not have to tilt or turn your head often. Your arms should be directly by your sides and belt at a 90degree angle. Your lower back should be pressed directly against the back of the chair or supportive product, such as a rolled up towel or cushion.