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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.
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.
When the threat of back pain looms, it's important to do all you can to prevent it before you are stricken. Back pain is the number one complaint doctors get, with an estimated 80% of people experiencing it throughout their lifetimes. 50% of working Americans admit to having back pain annually, and the primary cause of this is spending long hours seated in a cheap office chair. But there are steps to take both at work and at home to offset the harm sitting can do to the body.
- Get the Right Chair - The best chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. These quality office chairs are designed for people who spend long hours sitting at work. They are designed with a lumbar pillow insert to support your lower back, and ergonomically-adjustable components for preventing back pain. These chairs will keep you sitting up straight, and alleviate the pressure on your lower back.
- Pay Attention to Ergonomics - A quality ergonomic office chair is not going to do any good unless the chair is appropriately adjusted. Make sure the chair's individual components are adjusted to suit the user's body, as most everyone's body dimensions are different. It's also important to make sure the entire workstation is ergonomically sound, meaning the computer monitor is just below eye level, the computer mouse is close enough to the user, and any regularly-used tools or utensils are within arm's reach.
- Take Breaks - Taking regular breaks from your cheap office chair will have a very healthy effect on your lower back and your circulation. If you can take a break every hour, even to walk across the office and back, you will find yourself feeling better and focusing more.
- Stretch - The muscles of your back spend long hours in a strained, uncomfortable position when you are seated all day at work. When you have the opportunity at home, it's important to stretch out these muscles, to offset the time they spend cramped in a cheap office chair. It may seem more natural to stretch your lower back muscles by bending over and touching your toes, but it's actually arching your back and sticking out your bottom that stretches your lower back muscles.
- Get Enough Sleep - While chronic back pain is the top cause of insomnia, lack of sleep paradoxically works to make lower back pain even worse. It's important to get enough restorative sleep to allow your body to work to heal itself, and to allow the muscles in your lower back to relax.
- Exercise -Keeping your muscles in action as much as possible is very important to your back health. It is particularly important to concentrate on strengthening your core, as a strong core will help support your spine when you are seated, thus avoiding lower back pain.
Back pain is a common complaint, and 50% of working Americans claim to experience back pain symptoms each year. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) estimates that 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain at any given time.
Dr. Mark Stouffer, spine surgeon with Intermountain Southern Utah Neurosciences Institute, explains in an interview with The Spectrum that, "The more stress you put on your back, the more at risk you are for developing degenerative disk problems."
People who do manual labor are at particular risk for disc problems, but even working a simple desk job can lead to lower back pain.
The human body is designed for standing and walking. When we spend extended period of time (like, say, eight hours) sitting behind a desk in a cheap office chair, it puts excess strain on the lower back. It may seem a stretch to blame desk chairs for back pain, but extended sitting, and especially sitting with bad posture, can cause a great deal of discomfort over time.
Many people assume that surgery is the only option for treating lower back pain, and will therefore avoid consulting a doctor about treatment until the pain becomes unbearable. However, doctors always try to treat the pain with non-surgical options first. Unless there is severe spinal trauma, or serious symptoms of a larger problem, your doctor will not consider surgery a necessary treatment.
The majority of back pain is treated without surgery, and in fact, Stouffer says 85 to 90% of patients improve without surgical intervention. Nonsurgical treatments for lower back pain include:
"Modify your activities until you get back the acute pain," suggests Dr. Stouffer. However, it's best to continue to engage in some sort of aerobic activity, like walking. Once the acute pain has faded, maintaining a regular exercise routine can build stronger back and abdominal muscles, which will help support and take pressure off the spine.
- Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatories.
"Ibuprofen or Aleve can help reduce swelling and treat the pain," says Dr. Stouffer. A lot of times, lower back muscles have stretched and tightened due to injury or strain, and that is what is causing the discomfort. An OTC anti-inflammatory can help relax the tightened muscles, and reduce any swelling that may be causing discomfort in the spine.
- Steroid Injection.
Steroid injections are a more serious option to consider if other options have failed. "If pain doesn't subside, steroid injections can help," adds Stouffer.
But the best treatment for lower back pain is naturally to stop it before it starts. Finding the best desk chairs for back pain will help. The best office chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. these chairs are designed for people who spend long hours sitting, and they have the proper support and adjustments to ensure that your body is in a healthy, comfortable position, and much of the strain on your lower back is alleviated.
If you're starting to experience lower back pain in the office, you might consider looking into some new desk chairs for back pain relief.
p>Work is a very important part of most of our lives. It takes up most of our time (Usually 40+ hours a week), and whether or not it is what you want to be doing with your life, it is a very large focus of it. The bad part is, even your dream job can be hurting you, if you're working a desk job.
There are many different ailments that can result from long hours spent sitting in a cheap office chair, and the repeated motions of everyday office life. These ailments manifest themselves in different ways, but many of those ways can often be painful and unhealthy. Take a look at some common ailments below, and what you can do to prevent them.
- Back Pain
Back pain, especially lower back pain is the most common complaint among office workers. At least 50% of working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms annually, and about 31 million Americans are experiencing back pain at any given time. The human body is designed more for standing and walking, so sitting for long hours puts excess pressure on the muscles and spine in the lower back.
But what can be done to prevent lower back injury? Believe it or not, the best office chairs for lower back pain can make all the difference. The best office chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. These chairs are designed for people who spend long hours sitting, and have all the right support and adjustments for optimum comfort. The most important feature of the best office chairs for lower back pain is the lumbar pillow insert -- this lifts and stretches the muscles in the lower back, and helps take some of the weight off of the lower vertebrae.
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a cumulative trauma disorder stemming from prolonged repetitive, forceful, or awkward movements. The result is damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves of the neck, shoulder, forearm, and hand, which can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or impairment of motor control. The most common form of RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Office ergonomics are also helpful to prevent RSI. Make sure your office chair is adjusted to the appropriate height, and that you are not bending your wrists at awkward angles (in, out, or upwards) to type. Also, if you use a computer mouse, make sure that the mouse is moved close enough to you. A gel wrist pad will also help to keep your wrist in a neutral position while mousing.
Headaches may seem like an unavoidable problem at work, especially if you're under a lot of stress. But there may be other things causing your work headaches, keeping you from focusing fully on your work, and being less productive.
Your headaches could be caused by a number of different triggers: dim lighting, screen glare, smells, hunger, caffeine, dehydration, etc. Make sure your work station is adjusted appropriately so that your computer screen is at the right height, distance, and angle. Put an anti-glare screen protector on your screen, and ask to move to a different cubicle if yours is near direct fluorescent lights or unpleasant smells (like too much perfume).
>Have you found your own ways to avoid these common office ailments? Let us know in the comments!
- Back Pain