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Monthly Archives: August 2014
Lower back pain is a common complaint among office workers, but also a problem that is very preventable, with proper care and attention. One of the most common causes of lower back pain is bad posture. If you remain mindful of your posture, you can help ease a lot of the pressure on your spine, thereby relieving your back pain. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind that will help you have better posture.
Control Your Breathing: Controlled breathing is a great way to relax, relieve stress, and control your posture. Slow breathing through your nose will be key to your good posture, and will take a load off of your shoulders, literally and figuratively.
Take it From the Top: When using a computer at work, make sure to keep your eyes level with the top of the monitor, to avoid neck strain. Try to keep your ears in line with your shoulders, which will prevent you from leaning too far forward or backward and putting pressure on your spine.
Elbow Room: You should sit with your elbows at 90-degree angles, and keep your arms low enough so that your shoulders are not raised and tense. Doing simple stretches, like a shoulder shrug, at your desk will help to relieve tension and loosen your body.
Have Your Back: It’s very important to keep your lower back or lumbar region properly supported while seated. Not doing so causes you to slouch throughout the day, which puts a lot of strain on the spine, resulting in back pain. If your office chair does not have the appropriate ergonomic accommodations, a seat wedge or lumbar support pillow can be a cheap and effective tool to help you maintain proper posture.and decrease stress.
Not a Foot Out of Line: When seated, make sure there is a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your chair. Your knees should be positioned just below your hips, which means your thighs will be parallel to the ground. Keep both feet planted firmly on the ground. All of this will help to give you a good solid base, and to distribute your weight evenly throughout your body, which again takes pressure off of your spine.
Get Up, Get Loose: Sitting in one position staring at a computer screen all day is not good for you. Make sure you get up at regular intervals to stretch, and walk around the office. Sitting for long periods of time is bad for the whole body, limits blood circulation, and even decreases your life expectancy!
Even though you may not think that working in an office is a particularly strenuous job, it can still take its toll on your body over the years. Make sure you keep good posture and support your spine. Doing so will not only keep you more comfortable and relaxed, but will help to avoid lower back pain problems in your future.
If you work in an office setting, you've probably already wondered if it's possible to permanently lose the use of your legs from sitting, without moving, for the better part of eight hours. First, your legs start aching. The aches slowly turn into terrifying cramps, followed by a few confusing moments of tingling, and ending with total numbness. And just when you start to think You know, I might be okay without legs. I could develop some serious upper body strength, you notice that your lower back starts seizing up. And it just goes downhill from there.
It sounds kind of crazy to say that sitting too much can be painful -- until you become one of those people who actually does sit all day long. Most work-related injuries are caused by simple things like sitting in an uncomfortable office chair or lifting heavy items, and it's estimated that about 80% of the population has experienced or will experience back pain at some point. Experts estimate that, at any given time, about 31 million Americans have lower back pain. And unless you're willing to just quit your job in order to avoid the aches and pains, you need to find another solution.
Something that might sound even crazier is the fact that something as simple as replacing those cheap office chairs and leather desk chairs with high quality ergonomic chairs for back pain. Ergonomic office furniture has specifically been designed with office workers in mind, and it provides support in all the weird places you wouldn't normally think about (until the cramps arrive, that is). Antique leather desk chairs are pretty darn aesthetically pleasing, but they just don't offer the lumbar support that you need because you sit for eight hours a day. And it's also important to remember that everyone's body is different, so the types of chairs that work for some people just don't work for others. There isn't just one "best office chair for back pain" that works for everyone -- the best chairs come with adjustable features so that you can make the chair fit your body (rather than the other way around, which hurts quite a bit).
Let's face it: work is hard enough without the added stress of weird body pains. So if you could do something about it, why wouldn't you?
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.
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