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Sitbetter Chair Blog
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We've talked a lot about how to relieve your back pain with ergonomic computer chairs, but there are other ways to optimize the ergonomics in your office space. Ergonomics is essentially the science of making your environment better to work in, and presumably you do more at work than just sit. Even if you spend all day at a desk sitting down, chances are you're using a computer, typing, and using a mouse, so simply having quality office chairs isn't going to cut it. Here are some office accessories that can help keep you healthier and working better.
Mouses and keyboards
If you spend your days navigating the internet using a mouse, you probably know that whoever designed the standard mouse doesn't seem to have had human hands in mind. Ergonomic computer mouses are more intuitively designed with better button placement and a shape that fits more like a handshake and less like a baseball. Ergonomic keyboards are also better designed for the body's natural positioning. When you are sitting and typing your arms should be relaxed and comfortable rather than strained and scrunched.
Although you might have one of the best chairs for back pain, you still might need an additional ergonomic accessory if your desk is not the appropriate height for your size. Your feet should rest on the floor, but your arms should be positioned naturally at your keyboard. If you need to, you can adjust the height of your chair to the desk, and the foot rest allows your feet to reach a stable surface rather than dangle.
Lumbar support pillows
The American Chiropractic Association estimates that at any given time there are about 31 million Americans suffering from pain in their lower back, and the most important part of the back rest of a chair is lower back support. Though ergonomic computer chairs generally have adequate lumbar support, if the curve of your back requires more, a lumbar pillow insert can remedy that. A lumbar support pillow for office chairs should be appropriately placed near the lower back.
Adjustable monitor arms
The last ergonomic accessory that we'll discuss here is adjustable arms for computer monitors. Depending on the height of your desk, the height of your chair, and the position of your monitor, you might be straining or sitting in an unnatural position to see your computer screen. An adjustable arm will allow you to position the monitor where you need it, which is especially useful if you prefer to alternately sit and stand during the workday.
Ergonomic computer chairs are just the beginning of office ergonomics. Equipping your work space with ergonomic accessories can help alleviate and prevent back pain and repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Americans spend about $50 billion treating back pain each year, but maximizing office ergonomics is much less costly.
They say that sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for long periods of time -- especially if you aren't using one of the best ergonomic chairs -- can cause back and joint pain, hyperlordosis, heart disease, and spinal conditions. There are things that you can do try to alleviate some of the problems that come with sitting for long hours during the work day. Experts recommend having a more ergonomic workspace with the right keyboard, mouse, and mousepad, sitting with good posture, and taking a few moments to stretch and walk around every few hours, but you may also want to look into alternative furniture options for your workspace.
A standing desk is one popular alternative option to even the best ergonomic chairs. These desks are more adjustable than traditional desks, so you can keep it at a lower level for sitting and a higher level for standing. The versatility of this design allows users to switch between sitting and standing if they choose to, which is better for a person's health than being limited to sitting. A standing desk does not have to be adjusted to a sitting level, so if you prefer to stand all day you can.
The best thing to pair with a standing desk is a standing chair. This may sound counter intuitive (how is it possible to sit and stand at the same time?) but standing chairs are task chairs without arms that can be adjusted to a standing height. This allows the legs to be straightened which improves circulation, without putting a significant amount of additional pressure on the hip and knee joints.
Another alternative option for your office furniture is a treadmill desk, which is exactly what it sounds like. One of the biggest problems that people experience from sitting in a cheap office chair for too long is leg and joint pain. A treadmill desk allows users to stay in constant motion while working. The pace is as slow as one mile per hour, so it isn't as if you're training for a marathon while using your computer. It may take some getting used to, but treadmill desks can stave off the pains of sitting all day and the associated maladies.
If you aren't keen on standing or walking while you're trying to work, you can always look for one of the best ergonomic desk chairs. The best ergonomic chairs will be adjustable to fit your unique size and have good lumbar support. If you're not sure which of these options are best for you, you should consult with an expert in ergonomics to help you find the perfect office furniture for you.
Work can be a pain, but it doesn't have to be physically painful. Office workers report a number of aches and pains as a result of their working conditions, but there are steps you can take to avoid some basic injuries, so that you can have a more comfortable working experience.
- Repetitive Stress Injury/Disorder - The most-common repetitive stress disorders or RSDs, like carpal tunnel, are are a result of constant typing. These injuries affect hands, elbows, and wrists, and are becoming increasingly common, due to the growing reliance on computers in the workplace. If you arrange your work space based on ergonomic guidelines, and take regular breaks to rest and change positions, you can help avoid RSD. Ergonomic computer chairs with adjustable arms are particularly important, because office chairs without arms do not provide the proper support for your hands and arms.
- Back Pain - At least 50% of workers admit to having back pain symptoms annually. This can vary from just a temporary ache, to a more serious problem: In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 650,000 work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The best office chair for back pain is an ergonomic chair. Ergonomic computer chairs can be adjusted for your body and needs, and provide the best lower back support.
- Eye Strain - Work-related eye strain can affect your eyesight and productivity, but can also cause unpleasant headaches. Regulating the lighting in your work space, keeping screen glares to a minimum, and adjusting your computer screen and settings can help reduce the problem. However, it's also important to make sure you are positioned at the right height and distance from your computer screen. Ergonomic computer chairs with adjustable height settings make this an easy task, so you can position yourself 20 to 24 inches from the screen, with the screen positioned about 10 to 15 degrees below your eye line. These are the ideal specifications to avoid eye strain.
There are a number of steps you can take to make a more comfortable workplace environment for yourself, as well as avoiding common workplace injury and discomfort. Adjusting a few simple settings in your office, and adjusting your workstation to suit ergonomic guidelines (Especially ergonomic computer chairs!), can make a world of difference in your day-to-day experience.
Everyone knows that injuries can happen at work. What more people should know is that work-related injuries don't just happen at places like construction sites or because of heavy machinery. Back pain is one of the most commonly reported work-related injuries, but it isn't just caused by trauma or heavy lifting. Back pain and injuries also occur in the office.
Back pain is one of the results of sitting in a cheap office chair that has poor ergonomics. What is most alarming about this is that many jobs require us to sit for extended periods of time and for many days of the week. Without ergonomic computer chairs, a large portion of the American working population is at risk for back pain. Consider the amount of time we spend sitting in the car for a commute and sitting on the couch watching Netflix at home, and it figures that we spend the majority of our time sitting down. It can be tough to avoid sitting at work, though, and not using ergonomic computer chairs can cause more than just back pain.
Poor office ergonomics can also cause pains, injuries, and muscle strain in other parts of our bodies like the neck and legs. Many office workers perform repetitive tasks for many consecutive hours, which can cause rigidity and pain without the proper ergonomic precautions. Strained and rigid muscles are also more prone to further injury. Ergonomic computer chairs can help remedy back pain from sitting for long periods of time because they ease sitting with proper posture.
The best ergonomic chairs have a five point base with casters to prevent tipping and ease movement. Because good posture is essential for avoiding back pain, lower back support is also necessary. The National Institute of Health recommends using a properly placed cushion or lumbar pillow insert. Quality office chairs should also have adjustable features to fit the user's specific and unique size. A sliding seat pan allows the user to adjust the distance from the back rest. Adjustable armrests allow the user to raise or lower them to the perfect height to avoid slouching or straining to use them, and a height adjustable chair allows the user to sit with their feet flat on the floor.
Experts estimate that about 80% of the population will experience back pain at one point in their lives. If you're someone who suffers with back pain, relief may come by simply changing your office chair.
Owning an ergonomic office chair, in place of a regular chair or desk chair, has proven to be incredibly beneficial to one’s health and well-being. At least 50% of working Americans experience back pain on a regular basis, and an ergonomic office chair is designed to provide adequate lumbar support, which not only provides more comfort, but will keep the user from experiencing more back problems down the road. The ergonomic support goes beyond just the back, however. The chair’s other adjustable components also help to increase circulation and alleviate pressure on your spine and joints.
Simply owning an ergonomic office chair will not ensure that it is helping to alleviate any issues. One must adjust the chair to fit the proportions of the individual’s body, in order to maximize both comfort and relief. No two people are alike, and therefore, the individual user must be considered not only when selecting the right office chair, but also when adjusting it before use.
Lumbar Support - The lumbar support is the most important adjustment of your ergonomic chair. The lumbar portion of the spine bears the most body weight, and is therefore most susceptible to injury. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that one’s lower back is adequately supported. When seated, the chair’s lumbar support should fit comfortably into the curve of your lower back, and your feet should be flat on the ground.
Hips and Knees - Hip and knee joints are areas of problems and discomfort for many people. The best position for both of these joints is if your feet are flat on the floor, and your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. In this position, your knees should be level with your hips. Make sure to adjust the height of your chair to the appropriate level for this position.
Armrests - Armrests are more than just a place to, well, rest your arms. Armrests are actually meant to take some of the strain off of your upper spine and shoulders, and to make you less likely to slouch forward in your chair. Leaning forward even 30 degrees closer to your computer screen puts three to four times more strain on the back. In an ideal position, your chair should be adjusted so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle on the armrests. Your armrests should just slightly lift your arms at the shoulders.
Neck Position - If working at an office job or in front of a computer, it’s important to make sure that you are not craning your neck to look at your computer screen. This can lead to discomfort and neck strain. When sitting in your desk chair and looking at your screen, your forward gaze should be at the center of the screen. If your neck is craning up or down, you should adjust the height of your chair.
Lean Back Reclining slightly in your chair transfers your body weight to the chair’s backrest, easing weight off of the vertebrae. Reclining to create a 135-degree angle between the thighs and trunk puts less stress on the ligaments of the spine than sitting upright at 90 degrees or slouching slightly forward. Sitting upright at 90 degrees actually puts the most stress on ligaments of the spine, particularly on the intervertebral discs.
Sitting upright for extending periods of time puts unnecessary stress on the back, increasing the risk of chronic back pain. Even sitting for over six hours a day for a decade or so can cut about seven quality-adjusted years of your life. An ergonomic office chair is the wisest choice you can make for comfort in the workplace, but keep in mind that finding the right chair and adjusting it properly are just as important to the chair’s effectiveness to your overall health and comfort.