Customize Your Chair And Desk
Dr. Scott Donkin, founder of Occupational Health and Wellness Solutions consults workplaces on safety, ergonomic, and health issues and states that the act of leaning forward in your chair crushes the disks in your lower back and puts strain on your neck and shoulders. San Francisco State Universitys Dr. Erik Peper recommends these tips to help yourself protect your back while you work.
1.) Support the natural curve of your spine. Office chairs should have lumbar support, a natural forward curve at belly button level. You can also put a pillow or rolled up towel behind your back to achieve this effect.
2.) Adjust the height of your chair so you can keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. You can also rest your feet on a prop, like a footrest or even a phone book, for extra support.
3.) Remove or lower the armrests so your arms are at a 90-degree angle. This will encourage you to hold your shoulders low, which your upper back will appreciate.
4.) Keep your monitor about an arms length away and at or slightly below eye level. This will encourage you to sit back, instead of leaning forward and straining your neck. If you find yourself squinting at your monitor, adjust the lighting to reduce strain on the eyes.
What Structures Make Up The Back
The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.
Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.
Choose The Right Office Chair
Choosing a good office chair can also play a significant role in promoting proper posture. Below are a few things to look for in an ergonomic office chair:
- Adjustable height: Choose a desk chair that allows you to adjust the height so your elbows can sit at a comfortable angle with your desk.
- Adjustable backrest: If your desk chair has an appropriate seat depth, there should be 2 to 4 inches between your calves and the front of the chair when sitting with your back against the backrest. Choose an office chair with the right seat depth or one that has an adjustable backrest.
- Adjustable armrests: The armrests of your desk chair should lift your shoulders slightly to reduce the strain on your upper back. When armrests are adjusted correctly, you will also be less prone to slouching.
- Lumbar support: Choose an office chair that provides support to your lower back. Lumbar support encourages the proper curvature of your back to reduce tension and pressure. If your office chair does not have lower back support, consider using a small pillow behind your back to improve your posture.
- Comfortable material: A good office chair will have soft and padded seat material that makes it comfortable to sit throughout the workday.
- Able to swivel: If you have to rotate or turn frequently, choose a chair that swivels so you do not have to twist your torso. This will allow you to rotate while maintaining good posture.
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Office Chair: How To Reduce Back Pain
Sitting in an office chair for prolonged periods of time can definitely cause low back pain or worsen an existing back problem. The main reason behind this is that sitting, in an office chair or in general, is a static posture that increases stress in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs, and in particular, can add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs.
When sitting in an office chair for a long period, the natural tendency for most people is to slouch over or slouch down in the chair, and this posture can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the discs and surrounding structures in the spine. Over time, incorrect sitting posture can damage spinal structures and contribute to or worsen back pain.
Sitting in an office chair for extended periods of time increases pressure on the spine. These tips can help to reduce stress and prevent back and neck pain. WatchVideo: 6 Tips to Improve Posture While Sitting
How To Prevent Back Pain At Your Desk Job
05 November 2015
Sitting at your desk for eight hours a day isnt good for your overall health, and it could be the cause of your back pain. Even if youre not experiencing it now, computer use at your desk could lead to severe back pain in the years to come.
Learn more about how these tips can help you improve your health at work and the easiest ways to incorporate them into your day.
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Stop Bad Phone Habits
Misuse of a phone can contribute to back pain. The number one mistake people do at the office is holding their phones between the shoulder and ear. This is bad for the neck and the whole spine. Some ways to avoid this are by using a speakerphone, earbuds, or a Bluetooth headset. You can still use your hands while talking on the phone, without hurting your neck.
Another bad habit people do is looking down at their smartphones or devices. The amount of pressure on the spine increases five times when you look down at your phone at a 60-degree. This further increases as you repeat the habit all day.
These are just some recommendations to prevent the onset of back pain, but what if you already suffer from it? While these tips may help reduce pain, the best solution for chronic back pain is addressing the underlying problem correctly.
Place Monitors At Eye Level
The typical office set up places the monitors directly on the desk. This is a mistake as the desk height is not the correct height for a monitor it is only designed for ideal typing height to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Always keep your monitors at eye level. Doing otherwise would force the head to tilt slightly forward the whole day. This can result in hunched shoulders and poor overall health. Use a monitor stand to elevate your monitors or stack some books under them until they are at the correct height.
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Tips To Prevent Back Pain
Back pain is extremely common and can be caused by many simple everyday activities. Help prevent back pain and protect your spine with these important steps.
Back pain can be the result of trauma, such as a fall or a car accident. But most often back pain is the result of an everyday activity done incorrectly activities as common as twisting to reach or lift an object, sitting at a computer in the same position for hours, bending over to vacuum, and carrying shopping bags. The good news is that back pain prevention isn’t all that difficult, often requiring just a few adjustments that will soon become second nature.
Here are six simple but effective back pain prevention tips.
Stop Listening To Back Pain Horror Stories
Stop listening to other peoples horror stories. You know the scenario: You are bent over in obvious pain, waiting to see the healthcare provider, and the person next to you tells you a 10-minute tale of how their Uncle Gordon had low back pain that required injections and surgery. But the pain still didnt go away.
Stop listening to these terrible stories. Most low back pain is short-lived and can be managed quite effectively with exercise and postural correction. Of course, some low back conditions are serious and require surgery, but that is a conversation you should have with your healthcare provider, not the guy in the waiting room.
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How To Prevent Back Pain At Work
You bend over to grab a folder from your filing cabinet and you feel it–a sudden flash of fiery pain that shoots through your spine. But while that motion may have set off the painful sensation, bending down was probably just the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.
Day in and day out we treat our backs poorly, mostly with improper and repetitive movements. It only makes sense that a big part of the problem is how we move–and, more often, don’t move–at work, where most of us spend a major portion of our lives. Other factors play a role as well, such as the number and variety of manual tasks performed on the job, along with age, genetics, your schedule, desk setup and stress load. Experts say all these things combine to create unnecessary discomfort.
“It’s important to know that aspects of the work environment can make things better or worse,” says Dr. Jeffrey Katz, associate professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, and author of the book Heal Your Aching Back.
A Common Problem
Back pain is a much more common problem than most people realize. Lower-back pain is cited as the No. 2 reason why Americans see their doctors, second only to colds and the flu. And patients suffering from backaches consume more than $90 billion annually in health care expenses, according to 2004 research from Duke University.
Easy Desk Exercises To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Judith Gould is a trained physiotherapist who specialises in how ergonomics at work can help relieve lower back pain. Doing simple exercises at your desk each day can help eliminate lower back pain by stretching the muscles and correcting bad posture. Being mindful of moving throughout the day will go towards better back health so here are 4 exercises that are easy to incorporate into a busy day.
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% Of People Will Experience Back Pain At Some Time But There Are Ways To Find Relief
As people enter middle age, they are more likely to experience bouts of low back pain. In fact, according to the Harvard Special Health Report Men’s Health: Fifty and Forward, back pain affects about four in five Americans at some point in their lives and equally strikes men and women.
Age is often the culprit. Over time, the bones and joints in your lower back begin to change. Your discs tend to wear out and sometimes become fragmented. These structural alterations sometimes cause pain.
Another cause of low back pain, although it occurs less often, is a herniated disc. Sometimes, a disc pushes outside the space between the bones and compresses a nerve at the point where it branches off the spinal cord. When the sciatic nerve that leads into the buttocks and leg is affected, the pain is called sciatica.
Yet, most cases of low back pain stem from strain or sprain due to simple overuse, unaccustomed activity, excessive lifting, or an accident. In most cases the best move is to wait and see if the pain resolves on its own. If the pain does not improve after three to four days, then it’s time to see a doctor.
However, depending on the source of your back pain and its severity, you might try a few home remedies for low back pain to help ease the pain until your back returns to normal. Here are several options to consider:
Complementary therapies. Several types of complementary therapy may be helpful for relief from low back pain. These include:
How To Reduce Back Pain At Work
Office back pain can be prevented by creating proper office ergonomics and improving your posture. Practicing safe movements can also prevent back pain before it starts. If back pain does develop, increasing your activity levels and creating a healthier lifestyle can offer some relief. If you want to prevent or manage back pain at work, consider these six tips for reducing office back pain.
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Guidelines For Office Chair Setup
An ergonomic office chair is a tool that, when used properly, can help one maximize back support and maintain good posture while sitting. However, simply owning an ergonomic office chair is not enough – it is also necessary to adjust the office chair to the proportions of the individual’s body to improve comfort and reduce aggravation to the spine.
The first step in setting up an office chair is to establish the desired height of the individuals desk or workstation. This decision is determined primarily by the type of work to be done and by the height of the person using the office chair. The height of the desk or workstation itself can vary greatly and will require different positioning of the office chair, or a different type of ergonomic chair altogether.
Once the workstation has been situated, then the user can adjust the office chair according to his or her physical proportions. Here are the most important guidelines – distilled into a quick checklist – to help make sure that the office chair and work area are as comfortable as possible and will cause the least amount of stress to the spine:
Exercise To Loosen Muscles
Although it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when lower back pain is causing you grief, the right kind of movement can help eliminate the discomfort. Its always important to consult your physician before you engage in exercise when you have pain, but this conversation is well worth having if youre suffering.
First, you should keep in mind that not all exercise is beneficial in combating back pain. Try to avoid toe-touch exercises and sit-ups, which may add to the stress on your spine instead of relieving it. Leg lifts are another exercise to stay away from when you are hurting. If your core is not strong, leg lifts could be too demanding on your body if youre already experiencing pain.
Several types of exercises can be useful when you need to relieve back pain. Partial crunches can aid in strengthening your core without applying too much pressure to the area. Slow and controlled wall-sit exercises may also be useful. Other repetitions to consider include bringing each knee to the chest in succession, pelvic tilts, and swimming.
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How Is Back Pain Treated
Acute back pain usually gets better on its own. Acute back pain is usually treated with:
- Medications designed to relieve pain and/or inflammation
- analgesics such as acetaminophen and aspirin
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be sold over the counter some NSAIDS are prescribed by a physician
- muscle relaxants are prescription drugs that are used on a short-term basis to relax tight muscles
- topical pain relief such as creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain. Common topical medications include capsaicin and lidocaine.
Exercising, bed rest, and surgery are typically not recommended for acute back pain.Chronic back pain is most often treated with a stepped care approach, moving from simple low-cost treatments to more aggressive approaches. Specific treatments may depend on the identified cause of the back pain.
How To Set Up An Ergonomic Home Office
When it comes to setting up an office that will help improve back and neck pain, Julie encourages you to remember the 3 Ps:
- Put it close
- Positional changes
Proper posture can help take the stress off your neck and elbows. Prolonged sitting forces your spines natural ‘S’ curve into a ‘C’ curve, which puts more stress on your muscles, ligaments, discs, and tissue, explains Julie.
Use these tips to help position yourself properly in your chair:
- Ears are over your shoulder .
- Elbows should be by your sides with wrists comfortably resting on a round or soft surface.
- Support your back with your chair, using a small lumbar pillow or towel roll.
- Feet should be flat on a surface. If they dont reach the floor comfortably, use a footrest, stack of books, or even reams of paper.
Put it close
The most important step, according to Julie, is to adjust your seat height so your eyes are lined up 3 inches below the top of your screen if using a desktop computer, or tilt your laptop screen back to 120 degrees, just off vertical. Your body will always try to find this position, even if you have the perfect posture in your seat, she shares.
Other tips to keep your screen and computer properly aligned with your posture include:
- Screen should be no more than an arms length away.
- Keyboard and screen should be kept directly in front of you with the mouse to the side of your keyboard. Move your mouse back if it gets away from you during use.
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