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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.
Finding the best office chair is important, since you’ll spend many hours working from it. Unless you have an ergonomist on call, it may be difficult to find a proper fitting chair for your body. The right office chair for you should:
- Support your body uniformly
- Allow for ease of movement
- Be easily adjustable
- Provide comfort in the long term
- Help you in maintaining your posture
Office chairs are available in many sizes and shapes. Consider these tips before you buy your new office chair.
Depth of Seat
Seat depth is essential to your overall comfort. If the seat is not large enough, it won’t give you enough support. If it’s too big, it will place pressure on the backs of your knees, causing discomfort. While sitting, measure the distance from the backrest to the back of your knee. There should be 2-3 fingers or roughly 1.5 inches between your knee back and the edge of the seat.
Height of Seat
Your new chair should let you sit comfortably with your feet flat against the floor, with a 90-degree knee bend angle. Proper seat height will achieve this. Measure the height from the crease at the back of your knee to the floor. Consider the types of footwear you usually wear to work. You will have about four inches of adjustment in a cylinder. Special ergonomic chairs may have an option for different cylinder height, which is helpful if you’re short or tall.
Computer users today often experience shoulder and neck pain if their arms are unsupported and elevated. Armrests support your shoulder and neck muscles, but they can also limit your access to the desk or keyboard. Armrests work best when they are at the same height as your resting elbow height.
The backrest shape should follow your back’s natural curve. Office chairs with “S” shaped backs do this well. Adjustable back rests or those with lumbar support will allow you to position the backrest to support your spine. A taller back will fully support your neck and shoulders.
Width of Seat
The seat cushions must support your frame in width and depth. A cushion that’s too small won’t give full support. One that’s too large will not allow comfortable use of your armrests. Check to be sure that the distance between the armrests isn’t too wide or too narrow.
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.