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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.
It’s true that, as the saying goes, we weren’t born yesterday. We think we know how to talk, walk, and sit down. However, so many of us do not sit in a chair properly. It might sound silly or seem pretty basic, but there are a number of ways that you can harm your body merely by how you sit. And as most people sit all day for their jobs, you could be placing a great deal of stress on the body due to the way you sit at your desk. In order to correct these bad patterns and postures, here are a few ways you should never sit in your office chair.
When most people sit down, they cross their legs or ankles. While this might be commonplace at your workplace, you will want to break this habit. You should sit at your office chair with your thighs parallel to the floor and your feet resting flat. If you cross your legs all day, you can develop knee problems. Crossing your legs also impairs blood flow to your legs, which can lead to pains and cramps. You also don’t want to sit at your desk with your legs dangling above the ground and crossed. This will lead to poor blood circulation.
Leaning away from the back of the chair
We all are guilty of bad posture from time to time. However, if you notice how you sit at the office, you might discover that your back is seldom resting against the backrest of the chair. If you lean away from the back of the chair to read computer screens, write, or talk on the phone, you are placing unnecessary stress on your back. Your back isn’t supported in this position, which can produce a great deal of pain. One way to kick the habit of leaning in your chair is to purchase a chair that is ergonomically designed so that it will promote good posture.
Legs stretched out parallel to the floor on a footrest
At your desk, you might pull up another chair to rest your legs and feet. However, your legs should never be resting parallel to the floor on a footrest. While it might sound comfortable and even look more comfortable, it can actually lead to a great deal of discomfort. This practice does not promote good circulation to the legs. Poor blood flow can only make you feel more tired on the job.
You might think that there is really no wrong way to sit down. You bend your legs and rest your upper body on a surface. However, you can contort your body into different positions that you fail to notice over time. It is merely the way you always sit down. Those positions could be hurting your body more than helping it. The effects of how you sit can be both physical and mental. In order to promote the best health possible as you sit at your job, remember to avoid sitting in these three positions.
Most jobs require constant sitting throughout the work day which is why it is essential to have a comfortable and adjustable office chair. With the growing amount of desk jobs, comes the increased need for additional office chairs in businesses. B
efore selecting a new office chair for your business it is important to take into consideration a few factors to ensure that you or your employees will be able to sit comfortably through the duration of the work day. The most important features of a chair to keep in mind when selecting a new office chair is the seat, backrest, mechanism, and armrests. If all four of these components are selected with the individual's needs in mind, a healthy sitting experience is almost guaranteed, however if one is overlooked this can lead to uncomfortable aches and pains. One area where people have the most difficulty determining which will work best for them is the seat.
Why is the Seat so Important?
The office chair seat is arguably the second most important part of an office chair aside from the backrest. This is where you remain seated throughout the work day, so if your seat is not designed to fit your body you will find yourself experiencing discomfort throughout the day. A seat that is too small for the individual will not provide proper support for the thighs and will cause you to feel fatigued from having to continue to adjust yourself to find a comfortable position. A seat that is too large will cause the front edge of the seat to dig into the back of the knees, not allowing for proper circulation throughout the legs. In this situation with a seat that is too large, many individuals will find themselves leaning forward leading to not properly utilizing the backrest which ultimately causes back pain from your back not being properly supported.
Perfect Seat Size
The seat pan should be long/deep enough that it does not come in contact with the back of your knees when you are sitting all the way back in your chair. The width of your seat should at least be an inch wider than the width of your hips but not wide enough where you are unable to rest your arms on your armrests without stretching them at an awkward angle. The seat pan is the correct size when the user is able to fit two fingers between the back of their knees to the front of the seat edge. A seat slider can be utilized for taller individuals which allows the user to pull up on a lever to adjust the depth of the seat in and out while seated in a chair. A back depth adjuster can also increase the depth of the seat by typically turning a knob which allows for the back to be moved in and out rather than the seat. This is a more difficult adjustment and typically requires the user to get out of their chair in order to adjust it.
How to Determine the Correct Seat Size
If your current office chair fits you correctly, it is best to measure the depth and width of your chair to ensure that the next office chair you purchase has those same dimensions. If your chair is too short or too long, you will need to do some self-measuring or have someone help measure you. Using a tape measurer, measure from the back of your knee to your back to determine the depth you will need your seat to have. Once you have this measurement, add about an inch to an inch and a half to this in order to leave room between the front of the seat and the back of your knees. This will help you determine the seat depth that is needed. As aforementioned, you will also need to have the correct seat width if you will be using armrests on your chair. The width of the chair should be about an inch or two wider than your hips.
All these factors combined will help you and your employees achieve a comfortable sitting experience and help increase productivity by avoiding distractions such as back pain which often results in sitting in a chair that is too big or too small for the individual.
View SitBetter's wide variety of office chairs designed for varying weights and heights by clicking here!
Desk jobs have become notorious for joint pain, difficulty staying focused for extended periods of time and overall bad health. From hours of sitting, or even standing in uncomfortable areas without the ability to change your posture, you risk weight gain, higher blood pressure and strained joints, causing longer term chronic issues. Likewise, there are now fewer reasons to leave our work station, which has caused us to stay sedentary for longer periods of time, adding to the strain. However, there are easy fixes that allow people to change the way they work to improve their energy and reduce strain to their body.
Here are four easy ways you can quickly improve your health at work.
- Walk to the other office to speak to somebody.
Modern technology has made it easier for people to be lazy at work. Now, with e-mail, instant messaging and other collaboration tools, you never have to leave your desk to work together with another person. But even though the tools are available to make it possible to never leave your desk, that does not mean you should. Whenever you are able, get up and walk to another office to speak with somebody. This change in posture will keep you from falling victim to desk job tire.
The chair in which you sit has a lot to do with how you feel overall. Without the proper lumbar support and ability to move around even while you sit, you risk putting additional unnecessary strain on your joints. There are easy ways to fight a sore back at work simply by switching out the chair you are confined to so many hours of the workday. When searching for a new desk chair, find one that has the back support you need to help you stay sitting up straight, as well as the flexibility you require to be able to move front, back and side to side without limitation so that you can further increase your movement while sitting at your desk.
- Stand frequently.
Standing is a great way to get the blood flowing again. If possible, find a way to stand and work as much as you can. This change in posture puts significantly less strain on your joints, and it actually helps you burn more calories simply by making this small posture adjustment. If your job is one that requires you to stand for extended periods of time, you may also start to feel the solid ground and single position tiring you out. In these situations, try using anti fatigue mats for the workplace to help encourage more blood flow and keep you from becoming tired while working. These are great for people who are sent to assembly lines, service counters and other areas where you are required to stay standing for an extended period of time.
When you are free from the confines of your office and able to get out and about to eat lunch and grab some fresh air, avoid the temptation to do so by sitting down at a fast food restaurant or, even worse, behind your desk. Instead, pack your lunch every day and hit a walking trail. Once you have had your lunch in your car, jump out and start walking. Even a half an hour of movement in the middle of your workday can add up to more energy, more calories burned and more mobility in your joints.
Pain and tiredness are chronic issues experienced by people in desk jobs, where they frequently sit or stand for extended periods of time. By making these four easy switches, you can feel better in no time!
It is your hour of freedom, a chance to get refreshed and rejuvenated, a time to recharge your batteries and let your work troubles fade away. So how do most of us spend our hour lunch breaks at work? Typically curled up on a couch relaxing with a good read or by simply sitting. The problem with spending an hour of time during your break sitting in a sedentary position, is that most likely you already spend the majority of the day in a seated position while working. And, the problem with sitting for extended periods of time? Quite simply put: your health.
Sitting for long periods of time has been proven to cause work related aches and pains including lumbar pain, neck pain, upper back pain, repetitive stress injuries, fatigue, and carpal tunnel syndrome. These aches can happen due to a number of different reasons including not sitting with proper posture, sitting in a poorly designed chair, sitting in a chair that is too big/too small for your frame, sitting for extended periods of time, sitting in the same position, and lack of movement. However the main problem comes down to sitting. Although most of us are required by our employers to sit in our office chairs for the majority of the day, our lunch break is the one time of the day when we have complete freedom to do whatever we please. Instead of sitting we have come up with 7 alternate ways to spend your lunch break.
- Stretch - Even if you do not get a full hour for lunch or are too slammed to even take a break, take a few moments to stand up and stretch. Roll your shoulders back, raise your arms above your head in a full extension, take a quick walk around your office, and shake out your legs. It is best to do this every 1-2 hours, but if your time only permits this during your lunch break, remember to do so.
- Walk - Have some time to spare during your break? Take the opportunity to take a walk around your building, parking lot, or walk instead of drive to eat lunch. Walking will help you take your mind off of your work stresses while helping you stay active.
- Go to an Exercise Class - For some of us, our work carries on even once we leave the office. For others, we usually have other activities planned for after the work day such as running errands or spending time with our families. Consider your hour lunch break as an opportunity to partake in an exercise class to help clear your mind.
- Get a Massage - Sometimes work gets in the way of the little luxuries in life that leave us feeling revitalized and reinvigorated, a massage being one of them. Take an hour out of your work day during your lunch break to work out all the kinks and pains that have been building up in your back and you will feel like a whole new person when you return to work!
- Run - Often after work the last thing we want to do is change into our gym clothes and go on a run. Not only are we already exhausted from the long work day, but it is also a hazard to run in the dark at night. What better time to stretch and re-energize yourself than mid way through the day with a quick run around your office. Bring a pair of gym clothes and running shoes to work and you will be all set to go!
- Try Every Restaurant Within Walking Distance - If you can walk to it, you should try it! Get your exercise in while trying new quaint restaurants and hole in the wall food places that you would never consider going to if you had your car. You never know, you may find your next favorite spot to eat in the process.
- Go to a Park - Pack a lunch and have a picnic at a park nearby. You will get to enjoy being outdoors and away from anything that reminds you of work. After your done, take a stroll around and take in the scenery.
Whether you are taking a walk or exercising during your lunch break, it is important for your health to remain active throughout the day. Even if you are unable to take an hour break, be certain to stretch, get out of your office chair, and move around throughout your work day at least once every 2 hours. So the next time you are thinking about how you can spend your lunch break, consider one of our 7 options!