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It's the number one complaint from our customers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
If you have ever stepped into an office or place of business that values just where its employees sit, you probably did a few double takes about just what constitutes a chair these days. Ergonomic chair shapes have never been confused for the common and ordinary. Many are designed to look a little weird so that your back doesn’t feel awkward or strange. Here are just a few of the most unusual shapes that you might find in these ergonomically designed forms of seating.
The Ball Chair
When most people think of an ergonomic chair shape, they might picture various backrest heights and wave-like seating. However, there are even more unique-looking options, such as the ball chair, popular in newer workspaces and on the startup scene. The idea behind such a sitting implement is to lend the user better balance and posture, along with improved core strength. As there is no backrest on a ball chair, the user has to stay balanced. The result is decreased back pain compared to other places to sit around the office. The ball chair looks very much like an exercise ball. In fact, some models permit you to remove the ball from the wheelbase and use it for exercises.
The Pseudo Spine Chair
In terms of strange-looking seating, chairs designed with a pseudo spine tend to take the cake. These spine replicas could be mistaken for an insect’s exoskeleton. They are designed to replicate and cradle the spine and the back. The user can customize the pressure and support by adjusting the “ribs” of the chair. The main reason that a company might shell out for such an odd-looking chair is for its proven assistance with chronic back pain. For example, the RFM Verte Executive Ergonomic Chair, designed with a pseudo spine, has been known to help back pain sufferers. This form of seating looks strange with its spine replicator, wide lower portion of the backrest and narrower upper half. However, it gets the job done, even if the user looks like some sort of exoskeleton-possessing insect in it.
The Extra-High Back Chair
Some ergonomically designed chairs look like they could touch the moon with their extra-high backs. The extra-high back chair is one of the more unusual-looking types of ergonomic seating. Generally, the shape features a wing curvature of the back to allow for maximum comfort. That wing is also extremely high. You might not see your employees working at their desks; the back is just that tall. Generally, this type of seating is recommend for taller people or those with neck pain. One example of this odd-looking seat is the Ergocentric Geocentric Extra High-Back Synchro Ergonomic Office Chair.
The Kneeling Chair
When you think of ergonomically designed seating, you probably envision crazy backs and strange seats. However, some chairs don’t even look like chairs at all. Ergonomically designed kneeling chairs help put the back in a more natural position. While you might require a manual on how to actually sit down in these devices, the kneeling option is not supposed to look like a traditional form of sitting. Generally, people use this type of seating for shorter periods of time to lend temporary relief to the back.
Shopping for an ergonomically designed form of seating can take some getting used to for businesses and corporations. If you are obsessed with pretty pieces of furniture, such a look will be a shock to the system. From chairs designed to look like the spine of a human to bouncy balls for sitting, there are a fair number of shapes and forms to this health-conscious mode of design.
Ergonomic chairs have become an essential part of the workplace. Chairs designed with proper ergonomics promote good health and comfort. They enforce the idea that the chair should adjust for you and not the other way around. However, ergonomic chairs can be quite expensive, especially the top-of-the-line, best ergonomic chairs. At the same time, you don’t necessarily have to look for a chair that brands itself as being ergonomic. You merely need to look for a few components that promote ergonomic design. By keeping an eye out for these features, you might find a chair with ergonomic features but at a price your pocketbook can appreciate.
Begin by looking for chairs with height adjustment
If you are confused as to what makes a chair ergonomic and why many of these chairs cost an arm and leg, you merely need to think of these seats as loaded with adjustments, especially height adjustment. Even if you see a chair in your price range that doesn’t say it is ergonomic, check to see if it features height adjustment. Height and backrest adjustment are key components of ergonomic design. They allow the user to adjust the chair to suit their lower back needs and their height. In the process, the back is happier and the legs can enjoy proper circulation.
Seek out chair mechanisms
A chair mechanism might be a foreign feature to you. However, if you look closely at the description of those fancy ergonomic office chairs, you will probably see this term mentioned. The chair mechanism controls how the seat and backrest move. It allows the chair to lock into any number of positions. Even if you can’t afford the most expensive ergonomic chairs, you can still look for cheaper options with this feature. Many ergonomic chairs come with a multi-function mechanism. This allows you to adjust the backrest to multiple angles, along with the pitch of the seat pan. You might also see chairs with a knee tilt mechanism. This helps you to keep your feet on the ground and thighs parallel to the floor when you do lean back in your chair. In the process, you experience better blood flow, which leads to less fatigue and discomfort.
Check to see if the seat slides
Another ergonomic component to chairs is the seat slider. You might only be looking for a chair in the $100 to $200 range. Even at this price point, you should be able to find chairs that have a seat slider. The seat slider allows you to adjust the seat to fit your height and width, rather than you having to try and fit into a chair that doesn’t exactly suit your dimensions. You can fit more comfortably into the contours of the seat as a result. The ergonomic feature of a seat slider adds more comfort and customization than a basic chair.
You might not have the budget to shop in the top-of-the-line ergonomic chair section. However, there are ergonomic chairs to suit all budgets. Even if you can’t afford the priciest chair, you can still seek out features in more affordable office chairs that promote ergonomic design.