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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.
Did you know that leaning forward 30 degrees in an attempt to get closer to a computer screen puts three to four times more strain on the back? If not, you likely aren't alone: at least 50% of working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms every year. More importantly, these Americans spend at least an estimated $50 billion treating their back pain each year. While there are many things that can cause back pain, if you find yourself shifting positions while sitting in your cheap office chair, and feeling tension and pain in your back at the end of the day, it may be time to switch to a chair better designed to support your body, such as mesh back office chairs.
There are currently an estimated 3,805 office furniture manufacturing businesses located in the United States. Between them, they employ an estimated 109,081 people and are continuing to grow: from 2009 to 2014, the office manufacturing industry grew by an estimated 2.0% every year. However, out of the many products these companies produce, most of their offices stools and chairs are not sufficiently supportive to ease or prevent a person from developing back pain. For example, most office chairs have armrests, which encourage a person to adopt a slouching position, whereas an office chair without arms naturally encourages a person to sit upright. According to the National Institute of Health, if the chair has armrests, office chairs for back pain treatment need to have an adjustable height and width. Likewise, the NIH recommends that a lumbar support cushion be properly placed behind the small of the back to help accentuate lumbar support.
Because adequate lumbar support is the most important factor in ergonomic chairs for back pain treatment, mesh back office chairs are also a great way to help support your body during your work day. Because the mesh is a yielding rather than a flat surface, it helps cradle your body and creates support for your lower back without creating tension. So if you have back pain, don't suffer through another day at work: search for a better office chair with adequate back support today.
Chances are that you already know that the best ergonomic chairs can keep you from feeling sore and achey, but you might be shocked to find out all of the medical issues that these chairs prevent. The best ergonomic chairs can protect you against organ problems, muscle degeneration and leg issues, amongst several other horrifying medical conditions. If you're not already aware, here are some of the medical reasons why you should consider investing in the best ergonomic chairs.
When you sit at your desk for long periods of time, your blood flows more slowly and your muscles don't end up burning as much fat as they should. This creates a situation where fatty acids can clog your heart easily, increasing your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease to more than twice the amount as those who are more active.
When you sit hunched over a desk all day, you don't use your abdominal muscles, which makes them go soft. This posture also makes your back muscles go taut. This is a deadly combination that can ruin your posture over time, causing a medical condition called hyperlordosis, which exaggerates the spine's natural arch. The best ergonomic chairs help eliminate this risk by correcting your posture as you sit, distributing weight evenly across the appropriate muscles.
Running, walking, and other weight-bearing activities help the hips and bones in the lower body to grow more dense, which makes them stronger. Naturally, a lack of such activities would cause bones to weaken.
The vertebrae have soft, spongelike discs between them that absorb nutrients and fresh blood as we move around. However, sitting hunched over causes these discs to flatten, making it impossible for them to get these vital nutrients. When this happens, collagen coagulates and dries around the supporting ligaments and tendons. The best ergonomic chairs allow these discs to expand more easily, preventing collagen from hardening.
To think that these are only some of the problems that could be prevented. Who would've thought that the best ergonomic office chairs for back pain can help with more than spinal troubles? If you have any questions about the best ergonomic chairs, feel free to ask in the comments.
Let's face it -- that cheap office chair isn't doing your back any favors. The difference between the best ergonomic office chairs for back pain and that awful, cheap office chair is that the best ergonomic chairs are designed to support your back's natural curvature. Without that support, most office workers like yourself wind up hunching over or sitting in an awkward, unnatural posture that immediately causes myriad issues, and could even lead to chronic pain and spinal misalignment.
Thankfully, physical therapists have some advice that can alleviate those cheap office chair pains. Here are just a few pointers.
Adjust Your Mouse and Keyboard.
Your arms should be relaxed and resting at your side with your elbows bent to about 90 to 110 degrees. Your wrists and hands both need to be slightly flexed (as though you were playing the piano) or in a neutral position. Place your keyboard so that the "B" key is directly in front of your chest, which helps center it for the most ergonomic positioning.
Even though your cheap office chair will never be as comfy as an ergonomic alternative, you can still sit in a way that will prevent pain and discomfort. Be mindful of how you're sitting. Don't hunch over. Adjust your chair to the right height, so that your eyes look straight at the top third of your monitor.
Get Up Every Now and Then.
Get up out of that cheap office chair at least once an hour. Go to the bathroom, get a cup of coffee, or start a food fight in the break room -- it doesn't matter what you get up to do so long as you're up and moving about for a bit. If you're not bashful, you should stretch, too. When the shoulders are rounded, the chest muscles tighten. Go to a corner and place a hand on each wall as though you were raising them for school. Stretch this way for about 20 seconds.
If you're mindful of these tips, that cheap office chair won't be such a nasty problem. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.
Home office and workplace ergonomics are incredibly important considerations. While it might not seem like improper posture or sitting the wrong way in front of your computer could damage your health, the fact is that you can suffer some serious injuries over time, as noted by the University of Connecticut. What conditions might you suffer if you don’t practice good posture and ergonomics? Here’s a closer look.
Ergonomic and Posture-Related Health Disorders
All ergonomic and posture-related health disorders are technically musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs fall into a broad range of categories and conditions. Depending on the length of time you spend sitting, and just how poor your posture or position is, you might find yourself afflicted by any of the following:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – A condition in which the tendons running through the arms, wrists and hands are inflamed, making most common hand and wrist movements painful
- Tendinitis – A condition in which tendons become inflamed; it generally afflicts the arms and elbows, but can be present in other parts of the body as well
- Bursitis – Swelling and inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs between joints, tendons and muscles. It can afflict virtually any area of the body
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – This condition includes a weakened grip, pain in the neck, and often tingling or numbness in the fingers
- Chronic pain in the neck, upper back, lower back, shoulders and arms
Each of these conditions can cause serious discomfort and pain, and they can lead to significant time lost from work as well as medical expenses. In severe cases, some may require surgery to correct. For instance, severe carpal tunnel syndrome cannot be alleviated by using wrist braces alone, but may require surgical intervention to eliminate the problem.
How Do You Avoid These Conditions?
Obviously, avoiding and minimizing the conditions listed above is in the best interests of both the employee and the employer. Thankfully, it’s not that difficult to get around those problems. All it really requires is following the right ergonomic practices within the workplace.
Good workplace ergonomics can vary from one position to another, most of the time workers will need the right office chair, the right desk and the right computer setup to provide good posture and eliminate strain on muscles, joints and tendons. An ergonomic office chair should offer:
- Good neck support, either through a built-in headrest or a high back, which is particularly important for those who spend multiple hours each day seated in the chair
- Good lumbar support to ease the strain and discomfort on the lower back – lumbar support can come in the form or an adjustable position via a lever or through additional lumbar padding
- Armrests should be adjustable and padded to ensure that the worker is comfortable and can position the armrests so there is no strain placed on the shoulders
- Adjustable height so that the employee can adjust the seat’s height to allow them to sit with their feet flat on the floor, rather than angled or above the floor
Proper ergonomics in the workplace can improve the health of workers, save money on medical bills, and reduce lost time and productivity for the employer.