No matter how comfortable are you in your office chair, prolonged static posture is not good for your back and is a common contributor to muscle strain and back problems (or a backache). Sitting in an office chair in your office for extended periods of time can cause low back pain or even worsen the back problem if you already have one. When you sit for hours in a single position, especially in a chair, no matter you’re working or not, you’re bound to be in a static posture for a prolonged period of time which affects your back, shoulders, arms, and legs. It also adds a considerable amount of pressure to your back muscles and spinal discs which eventually can wreak absolute havoc on your body.
As miserable as back pain can be, that may be the least of your worries if you spend a significant amount of your time sitting at a desk and staring at your computer screen. Sitting may actually cut years off your life. Whether it’s lower back pain, wrist pain, a really tight neck, or lack of mobility, sitting for the whole day at a desk in front of a computer, the human body often get stuck picking up the tab. If your job requires a desk work, you probably spend more time at your desk than you do at anything else in your life. That might result in all sorts of weird stuff like eyestrain, back pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain, neck pain, and arm pain.
It’s the natural tendency for most people to slouch over or slouch down in the chair, if forced to sit in a static posture for a prolonged period of time. And this static posture can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the discs including the surrounding structures in the spine. It will get worse over time and might even damage the spinal structures which is not at all a good sign. Fortunately, there are a few strategies and exercises – such as changing your office chair setup and organizing your torso – that can help in addressing a lot of these potential problems and help keep you properly aligned.
Changing Your Office Chair Setup
You cannot run away from the health ramifications of a sedentary lifestyle but you can do something to counteract this office life. The very first thing you can do is change your office chair setup. Desk jobs might not seem physically taxing, but they can certainly cause some serious physical problems, such as a backache. And if you’re going to level up, it’s time for a little makeover. An ergonomic chair, when used properly, would help you maximize back support and maintain good posture while sitting. However, simply buying an ergonomic chair won’t be enough – it’s equally necessary to adjust the chair setup in perfect proportions to your body to avoid any misalignment and reduce aggravation to the spine ligaments.
You often sit in a chair that’s too low and a desk that’s too high, with your neck down looking at the computer screen at an angle that creates a little strain on your neck and shoulder muscles. So, the very first step in setting up your office chair is to establish the desired height the desk or your workstation. So let’s start with setting your chair at the proper height so you can comfortably type without scrunching your shoulders up. They have this ratio all wrong in most of the office spaces.
You definitely want to sit in a chair at a proper height where you can sit with shoulders relaxed and pulled back to make sure you attain a proper sitting posture. This decision can be determined primarily by the work you’re doing and by your height using the chair. The height of the desk itself might vary greatly and will demand for different positioning of the chair or a different type of ergonomic chair altogether. While traditional office chairs are designed to provide complete support, most people would prefer more active, ergonomic chairs. These modern-day chairs not only promote good posture without a back support, but they also help exercise your muscles for perfect balance.
Now that your workstation is completely set, you can adjust the chair according to your physical proportions. Here are a few important guidelines, sorted into a quick checklist, to help make sure the office area and the chair are as comfortable as possible and will cause less strain to your muscles:
Pick a good chair
You probably spend more than a third of your life in a chair in an office, so make sure you’re sitting in a chair that is not destroying your spine. Studies suggest even a regular fitness regimen might not be enough to counteract the effects of excessively sedentary habits, due to the adverse effects of sitting. A perfect ergonomic desk chair will make sure your back feels great sitting in it for a prolonged period of time. But you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars alone for a perfect chair unless you can afford it – you simply need a decent, adjustable chair that you can adjust the height to rest your feet comfortably on the floor.
Before making the final decision, you have to determine the appropriate proportions to which the adjustment has to be made. First, start by sitting comfortably as close as possible to your desk to make sure your upper arms are held parallel to your spine. Rest your hands on the desk or your work surface to see if the elbows are at a 90-degree angle – if not, you need to adjust the chair height either up or down to make sure your elbows are perpendicularly inclined.
Check carefully if you can slide your fingers under your thigh at the leading edge of your office chair. If it’s too tight, you’ll probably have to prop your feet up with an adjustable footrest. If you’re too tall and there is more than a finger gap between your thigh and the chair, you have to raise the desk so that you can adjust the height of the chair as required.
Low Back Support
There must be a cushion fixed at the back of the chair which can cause your lower back to arch slightly so that you don’t slump forward or slouch down in your chair as you get tire over time. The low back support in the chair is essential to minimize the strain on your back. Do not try to slump or slouch forward in your chair for a long time, as that might place extra stress on the structures in the low back, particularly, on the lumbar discs.
Adjust the Armrest
Adjust the armrest of your chair so that it just slightly lifts your arms to the shoulders. An armrest in an office chair definitely takes some of the strain off your upper spine and shoulders, which eventually makes you less likely to slouch forward in the chair.
Well, no doubt ergonomic revolution has led to the birth of some great desks and workstations that provide full comfort and offer the option of standing up to work. You can also try a few exercises and workout strategies to compensate for long hours spend sitting. Exercises can also help strengthen and realign your body posture, as they are powerful structural movements to address the problems of chronic back pain. They have been a great contributor to the increasing physical challenges of the modern society.
Another simple solution to your problems is to stay active all the time – remember to stand, move, stretch, and walk for at least a minute or two every hour to avoid keeping your back in one position. Even a quick stretch and some minimal physical movement – such as walking or just standing rather than sitting – will help. After all, it’s the small things that matter. And you’re the architect of your own health and it is up to you teach your body to do things it’s designed to do.