If you work in an office setting and spend a lot of time sitting at your desk, over time you may feel increasing pain in your neck and back. Office chairs can perpetuate poor posture because most people tend to slouch when sitting in one. This puts added stress on the supports of the lower back, neck, and legs.
Sitting slouched in an office chair for prolonged periods also puts stress on the discs in your back, causing stiffness and pain. While sitting for extended periods is unhealthy for your back, there are several things you can do to lessen the damage caused by sitting in an office chair.
When setting up your office chair, make sure to set it at the correct height for your work station. A chair that is set too high causes you to slouch down while working, and a chair that is set too low will cause you to strain upwards. Having your chair set at the appropriate height naturally encourages good posture. Proper posture relieves pressure on the spine, resulting in less back pain, aching in your neck and extremities.
What Is Workplace Ergonomics?
Ergonomics sounds complicated, but it simply means designing your environment so it’s safe and efficient.
You do this naturally in the home, without ever thinking of words like “ergonomics.” Don’t believe us? Consider your television. You don’t mount it high on the wall or set it low on the floor. Instead, you position it where everyone, no matter where they sit, can view it easily. That way, people are comfortable.
Workplace ergonomics works the same way. The practice involves placing the tools employees use where they are safe and easy to use. In an office environment, this means their computer, keyboard, monitor, phone, mouse, and, of course, their chair.
Ergonomic Office Chair Settings
To ensure your chair is at the ideal height, stand in front of it. You want to adjust the height so that the highest point of the seat sits just below your kneecap. When you sit in the chair, your feet should rest flat on the floor and your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
Try to avoid sitting in your office chair for extended periods of time. Instead, break up the time by taking stretching breaks or short walks around the office. Stand-up and stretch throughout the day. This minimizes the damage caused by sitting all day. Even taking two 10-minute breaks to stand or walk can dramatically reduce pain in your back.
If sitting is a basic part of your job description, consider investing in an ergonomic office chair. The design of these chairs relieves stress and tension on your back while providing extra support for your lower back. Although ergonomic chairs are typically pricier than standard models, improving the health of your back is worth the extra cost.