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There are some jobs in this country that seem like only a risk-taker could do. Firefighter, stuntman, soldier, and astronaut are a few occupation examples that might spring to mind. Sure, these jobs are dangerous, but none of them are among America's least healthy jobs. In fact, you could be surprised to learn that one of the least healthy jobs in America just might be yours.
The dangers vary from falls to respiratory illness to repetitive strain injuries, and much more. The most common occupational complaint, and one experienced in a number of the occupations on this list, is back pain. At least 50% of working Americans admit to having back pain annually, and experts estimate 80% of the population will experience it throughout their lifetime.
America's Most Unhealthy Jobs
(With average number of illness and injury reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Construction Worker (125,120) - This one is not a huge surprise. Falls and repetitive injuries are common problems with construction workers.
- Office/Administrative Staff (83,320) - Did you know a desk job could be dangerous? Well, when you're sitting all day in a cheap office chair, it can be. Office workers can blame their office chairs for back pain, because without a lumbar pillow insert, a chair can result in back strain and poor posture. Also, inhaling toner and ink fumes all day doesn't help either.
- Sales Staff (76,210) - If they're not sitting in cheap office chairs all day, making sales over the phone, they're falling from ladders while gathering merchandise, straining to carry it to customers, or even being injured by malfunctioning displays.
- Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants (49,480) - These workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals and disease in hospitals and nursing homes, and also experience strains from lifting heavy patients.
- Janitors and Housekeepers (46,540) - The heavy carts that housekeepers push can cause back pain, and inhaling potent cleaning supplies can result in illness.
- Registered Nurses (20,500) - Lifting heavy patients, getting hit by gurneys, or even being attacked by patients' family members make this one of the most unhealthy jobs.
- Waiters (9,520) - Waiters are carrying trays weighing up to five pounds, all by themselves, often on one shoulder. So the next time you're worried about the weight you'll gain from a big meal, spare a thought for the person that had to carry that meal to your table.
- Computer Specialists (2,720) - These workers suffer a lot from repetitive injuries, but also from cramped workspaces.
If one of these jobs happens to be yours, don't panic. There are some simple steps you can take to prevent illness and injury in most professions.
Back pain is one of the most common complaints from office workers, as a result of having to sit at their desks all day, day after day. There are comfortable chairs for back pain, but oftentimes, workers are stuck with cheap office chairs, or the office chairs they do have are not adjusted correctly. There are specific settings and comfortable positions to keep in mind, that might help alleviate any back pain resulting from sitting for long hours.
The best chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. These chairs are designed to provide the optimum comfort and support, for people exactly in your position: stuck in a chair for long hours. Ergonomic computer chairs are also incredibly comfortably, and will allow you a more enjoyable working experience, in general.
One very important thing that ergonomic computer chairs provide is lower back support. These chairs contain a lumbar pillow insert that cushions the lower back, stretching and elevating the lumbar muscles, and taking some pressure off of the spine.
The best computer chairs have many adjustable components, so you can adjust them to suit your particular body. Make sure the height of your chair, your armrests, seat depth, and back incline are all adjusted to suit you. It doesn't matter the quality of the chair you're sitting in, if it's not adjusted for your body, you may actually be harming yourself even more.
Americans spend billions of dollars treating back pain every year, but what's most important is to nip the back pain in the bud before it starts. If you take the proper precautions, by sitting correctly in the right chair that is adjusted for you, you will go a long way to prevent back problems in the long run. Simply being conscious of the way you are sitting will help you improve.
A multitude of jobs consist of sitting in front of a computer typing for eight hours or more a day; then some of us proceed to go home and spend even more time behind the computer. If you fall into this category of having an office job or you spend large periods of time in front of your computer, it is important to have proper seating to ensure productivity and alertness throughout the day. An eight hour work day already seems long enough, but if you are uncomfortable the whole day because of a bad computer chair, it can draw out the day even more. With so much time being spent sitting and typing during a typical day, it is important to take your comfort into consideration when deciding to purchase a new computer chair. Choosing the right chair for you may depend on a number of different factors, but first and foremost above price and all other extraneous determinants, make sure it is going to be something you will feel comfortable sitting in all day.
When selecting your new computer chair, one of the key features you will want to look for is an adjustable height option. Most if not all good computer chairs come standard with an adjustable height option to accommodate for users of varying heights and also to be in proper alignment with computer desks. Not one standard chair height fits all users, which is why it is important to have a chair that is going to be adjustable to meet your height requirement and allow you to keep you feet firmly planted on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Computer desks also come in different shapes sizes and your chair should be able to properly under it. In work environments with higher workstations, an adjustable height option is absolutely necessary.
Another key feature to look for in your computer chair is to make sure the seat is going to be comfortable enough for you to sit on for multiple hours a day. If you prefer a softer sit, look for computer chairs that have a memory foam, gel seat, or triple density foam which are all comprised of durable materials that are designed to conform to your body's natural shape. If you prefer a firmer sit, look for high density foam or a chair with a mesh seat. Both options will give you the firm sit, be durable enough to handle long days of sitting, and will give in a little over time making the seat a bit softer but not enough to give you the feeling of memory foam. Leather seats are also a viable option if you are looking for a little bit of a softer sit. Keep in mind that during the summer if you live somewhere that experiences high temperatures, a leather seat may cause you to sweat more because the material is not as breathable as say a mesh seat. Also take your personal requirements into consideration, if you are of shorter stature consider getting a seat that has a smaller depth than a typical chair to ensure you have one to two inches of breathing room from the back of your knees to the front of the seat. If you are a bigger or taller individual, look into purchasing a big and tall chair which is specifically designed to allow enough seating room and seat depth for those of taller stature.
Having a tilting option on a computer chair is ideal, as it can increase your comfort while sitting. With the ability to lean back throughout parts of the day, you will significantly decrease the chance of developing neck and back pain that may arise from sitting in the same position throughout the day. Chairs that come with a tilting option usually have either a knee tilt mechanism or a spring tilt mechanism. Opt for a knee tilt mechanism over a spring tilt if possible, because a knee tilt mechanism will allow you to tilt back while your feet are flat on the floor which will alleviate pressure on your thighs.
There are additional options that can be added onto computer chairs to make your sitting experience even more comfortable, though not as necessary as the above features. A chair that comes with a ratchet back is a great feature to have, especially if multiple people are using the same chair, as it allows for the back to be raised up and down to provide support in the right areas of the particular individual. Some chairs also come with a seat slider option which is optimal to have for either a single user or if multiple people share the chair. This allows for the user to move the chair's seat forward or back to adjust the seat's depth. The right computer chair for you will not be the same for someone else, ultimately it comes down to if the chair is going to be comfortable enough for you to sit in all day and if it will have enough adjustments to meet your body's needs.