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Lower Back Pain? Try These Stretches at Your Desk

It’s the number one complaint from our customers.

Back pain.

What many people don’t realize is that a lot of the time your office chair is contributing to the back pain, and you should probably look into getting a chair better suited for your needs.

If you’re not on the market for a new office chair, Performance Based Ergonomics has put together a video showcasing a few stretches to relieve some of your lower back pain while at your desk.

Try some of these stretches out and remember to come back to Sitbetter.com when you’re ready to invest on a new chair.

 

 

Read the entire story here.

 

 

 

 

A Brief Guide to Good Posture in the Workplace

poor posture

Posture – it’s one of those things that we’ve all heard about, but a surprising many know little of. However, for all that it can be difficult to define without heading to your nearest dictionary, it’s an incredibly important consideration in the workplace, particularly for office workers. Good posture helps prevent the development of serious musculoskeletal disorders, prevents muscle strain and more. What should you know about correct posture, though? Read on to learn more.

 

Spine Support

One of the most important elements of good posture is spine support. When sitting down, your natural inclination is probably to lean forward and rest your weight on the arms of the chair. That’s wrong, and it will lead to serious lower back pain, as well as strain on the muscles and tendons in the arms (especially if you do that while trying to type).

The right type of spinal support is important. The best option is to invest in a quality office chair with a good back (featuring plenty of lumbar support) that follows the natural curvature of the spine. Make sure your feet sit flat on the floor and don’t hang. You should also have maximum contact between your back and the back of the chair without it affecting your ability to type. If your chair has armrests, they should be positioned so that your arms are even with the top of the desk and there’s no shoulder strain present.

 

Neck Position

Even if your chair has a built-in headrest, chances are good it’s not going to be used unless you’re leaning back (you’re inactive). That means it’s important you practice good neck posture. Ideally, your neck will be in a neutral position (not forcing it forward, back or to the side). The computer monitor should be just below eye level, so you can look at it while maintaining the right position. Your monitor should also be at least 20 inches from your face (a maximum of about 36 inches).

Position everything in your work area so that you can reach it or see it without having to turn your head. This will help you keep your neck in the proper position and avoid straining muscles.

 

The Importance of a Quality Office Chair

Part of good posture is having the right support for your body throughout the day. In an office environment, that means having a quality office chair. While good chairs do come with a cost, they’re actually more affordable than what you might think, and they’re certainly cheaper than trying to deal with the consequences of carpal tunnel syndrome or chronic lower back pain. A good chair will help support you throughout the day, and should be a “no-brainer” for any office worker (or office manager buying furniture).

With the information above, it should be easier to understand good posture and put it into effect in your daily life. Invest in a good office chair and protect yourself from serious musculoskeletal disorders.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ergonomics.html

 

Key Concepts in Workplace Ergonomics

Ergonomics – it’s become an immensely important consideration for both individuals and employers. Even UCLA has started offering ergonomics guides and information for students, teachers and others. Whether you’re an office worker or an employer, it’s important that you understand the key concepts in workplace ergonomics in order to prevent injury, maximize productivity and reduce ergonomic injury-related lost time from the job.

 

Reducing Strain and Stress on Key Body Parts

The entire point of ergonomics is to position office equipment and to support the body in such a way that it reduces strain on key body parts. These include the following:

  • Eyes
  • Neck
  • Wrists
  • Hands
  • Arms
  • Shoulders
  • Upper and lower back
  • Thighs and legs

 

Key Ergonomic-Related Injuries

33% of all workplace injuries involve musculoskeletal injuries generally caused by poor workplace ergonomics. These injuries cause a significant amount of lost time at work, which impacts both the employer and the employee. Some of the conditions caused by not implementing the correct ergonomic plan can include carpal tunnel, eye strain/headaches, tendinopathy, bursitis and many others.

 

Key Concepts to Understand

There are several different concepts at play in workplace ergonomics, including posture, correct workstation setup and more. These include the following:

  • Neutral Neck Position – Your workstation, desk and office chair should allow you to maintain a neutral neck position. A computer monitor should be at least 20 inches away from your body, and it should be directly in front of and slightly below your eye level.
  • Spine Support – Sitting for long hours puts serious stress on your spine and back/shoulder muscles. To correctly support your spine, you need to sit with your feet flat on the floor, and you should have an office chair that provides good lumbar support (either adjustable or with extra padding in the lumbar region). Armrests should be included with the office chair, and they should be adjustable to eliminate shoulder strain.
  • Arm and Hand Positioning – The position you’re forced to hold your arms and hands in when seated at your computer can put additional strain on your body. When seated and using the keyboard, your elbows should be at 100 to 110 degrees (open). The keyboard should have a negative tilt so you can keep a neutral position in your hands and wrists. Keyboard trays should be wide enough for both the keyboard and the mouse, so you can use them without raising your arm to another position.

 

Breaks, Stretching and Exercising

It might sound counterintuitive, but office workers should engage in regular stretching and exercising while on the job. This helps to eliminate stress and strain, and enhances blood flow, which can increase comfort as well as productivity. Regular breaks are also important to help prevent workplace injuries.

  • For every 20 minutes of typing, you should take a 20-second break
  • For every 20 minutes of typing, you should look away and focus on the middle distance for 20 seconds
  • Every hour, you should get up and walk around the office or take a stroll to the break room
  • Every hour, stretch your legs, arms, shoulders and wrists to enhance blood flow

These tips and key concepts will help enhance workplace productivity, but also reduce the chance of injury for office workers

 

Sources:

http://ergonomics.ucla.edu/

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/tc/office-ergonomics-topic-overview

 

Four Key Tips for Creating a Healthier Workplace

Healthy Workplace

 

Workplace health and safety are topics that don’t see as much focus as they should. Proper ergonomics for employees will help reduce the incidence of workplace injury, but there are several other things that need to be done to really ramp up the healthiness of an office environment. While some of these changes can be done by individual employees, employers can do much more to enhance the health quality of the workplace. Below, you will find four important tips to increasing workplace and worker health.

 

Allseating- Wall Trax Computer Mounting System - Configuration 3

Allseating- Wall Trax Computer Mounting System – Configuration 3 at Sitbetter.com’s Headquarters

 

Consider Standup Desks

When you think of a desk, chances are good that you picture the standard model – a flat surface a couple of feet off the floor with space for a chair and room underneath for the worker’s legs. While sit-down desks are still the norm, many companies are beginning to implement standup desks. These are designed to allow the employee to stand up and complete their duties, rather than sitting down. A mounting body of evidence suggests that long periods of sitting actually contribute to significant health problems.

 

ESI - PIXIE Small Profile LED Task Lighting

ESI – PIXIE Small Profile LED Task Lighting

Lighting

Most workplaces use the most cost-effective type of lighting (usually fluorescents). However, that’s not necessarily the best option for creating a healthy workplace. Natural light is better for the eyes, improves vision and can also enhance mood and productivity. Letting in plenty of natural light is as simple as opening the blinds on your office’s windows. If your office lacks enough windows to make this feasible, look into lights that mimic natural sunlight’s wavelength and color.

 

Treadmill and Manual Height Standing Desk for Light Usage

Treadmill and Manual Height Standing Desk for Light Usage

 

Add a Fitness Area

Encouraging workers to take a break from the job and get their hearts pumping is actually a good thing for both your workers’ health and your company’s bottom line. It doesn’t have to be all that expensive, either. Find an unused office or area in your workplace and add a couple of treadmills and an elliptical machine or two. Encourage your employees to take periodic breaks and exercise. This gets them out of their sitting position, enhances blood flow and also improves overall health.

 

Encourage Healthier Eating

Lunch in an office environment is usually an unhealthy affair. Your employees might be wolfing down a massive burger and fries, or they might be eating quickly so they can get back to their responsibilities. They might be skipping lunch altogether. Encourage healthier eating in your employees. You can do this in a number of ways, including introducing meal plan suggestions, or hiring a healthy food vendor to come to the office. Of course, it helps if you (the manager or owner) are able to lead by example. Encourage your employees to take their entire lunchtime, too.

Creating a healthy workplace doesn’t have to require a revolutionary change. Small steps in the right direction can result in big improvements. Start small and think smart. Encourage your employees to get out of the rut and do things differently. Of course, you need to think differently as well.

 

Sources:

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=162652

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17sitting-t.html?_r=2&

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/10-ways-to-make-workplace-healthier-productive/#axzz2aiZoZD8r

 

What Makes a Good Home Office Chair?

The modern world has changed significantly in the past few decades. We’ve gone from having a mostly active lifestyle to a sedentary one. Even those who work out of the home spend the majority of their time sitting down. According to OSHA, 33% of all workplace accidents in 2011 were due to musculoskeletal problems stemming from poor ergonomics, and if you have a home office, that applies to you. Your office chair is the first line of defense against these dangerous health problems. How do you choose a good home office chair?

 

Pony Up the Cash

If you’ve taken a look at ergonomic office chairs recently, you know they’re not cheap. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality chair. With that being said, you can’t really get a bargain-basement chair and expect it to hold up. You get what you pay for in many cases. Be prepared to pay a little more for a decent chair (say, up to about $300).

Eurotech Ergohuman - Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair with Headrest

Eurotech Ergohuman – Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair with Headrest

 

Adjustability Is Paramount

The number one rule of ergonomics is that one size does not fit all. The more adjustments a home office chair features, the better it will be for you. Look for a chair with adjustable height and tilt so you can adjust it to fit your body perfectly. You should also look for models with adjustable armrests as well, particularly if you spend a good deal of your day typing at the keyboard. Adjustability is paramount – you must ensure that the chair you purchase can come as close as possible to a tailor-made position for your specific frame, height and weight.

As a note, the chair’s height adjustment should provide enough travel that you can leave your feet flat on the floor. If your feet are angled so your toes touch the floor but not your heels, or if they’re dangling in midair, you’ve got the wrong chair.

Ergocentric - myCentric Ergonomic Office Chair

Ergocentric – myCentric Ergonomic Office Chair

 

Padding

Comfort is an important consideration when buying a home office chair. Avoid thinly padded chairs and those without padding on the armrests. Mesh chairs are something of a different beast – the mesh features natural give to provide almost the same comfort as thick padding. In a padded chair, look for a model that features memory foam so it will mold to your body’s contours rather than flattening out across the entire seat through use.

 

Lumbar Support

There are two forms of lumbar support in the office chair world – thicker padding in the lumbar region and adjustable lumbar support (usually via a lever on the side of the chair’s back). Both can work well, but you’ll get better results out of a chair with adjustable lumbar support. Usually, extra padding will wear down and reduce the amount of support offered, even with a high quality chair. If possible, opt for a lumbar adjustable model.

With the right home office chair, you can ensure that you protect yourself from dangerous musculoskeletal injury, enhance your comfort and even work longer if necessary.

 

Sources:

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/