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Is your current office chair good for your back?

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Sitting in an office chair for long periods of time will cause 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, they can put a lot of pressure on 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.

What Causes Back Pain at Work?

Back pain can be caused by many things, so it is a common problem among office workers. You can prevent problems, but before you do, you must first know what caused them. Be sure to analyze and determine each factor as it occurs at work. If so, prevent them from happening again. However, you should know that when we talk about back pain at work, if something is causing it outside of your office, we recommend that you schedule a doctor's appointment.

Use a chair without a lumbar support

Most back and neck problems come from using for example, a wooden dining chair, to work for long hours. The problem with these chairs is that they offer no lumbar support, so you often end up in the wrong position all day. Poor posture problems can harm your physical health and can also cause psychological conditions such as stress and anxiety. Because of this, you should avoid using wooden chairs or stools to work.

Standards for office chair settings

An ergonomic office chair is a tool that, when used correctly, can help maximize back support and maintain proper posture while sitting. However, it is not enough to have an ergonomic office chair – the office chair must also be adapted to the individual's body proportions to improve comfort and reduce back strain. The first step in setting up an office chair is determining the desired height of the desk or workstation. This decision is mainly determined by the type of work performed and the height of the person using the office chair. The height of the desk or workstation itself may vary and require a different office chair position or a completely different type of ergonomic chair.

Once the workstation is in place, the user can adjust the office chair according to their physical proportions. Here are the most important guidelines to ensure that your office chair and workplace are as comfortable as possible and cause the least amount of stress on your spine:

Elbow measurement

First, start by sitting as comfortably as possible at a desk with your arms parallel to your spine. Rest your hands on your work surface (e.g. desktop, computer keyboard). If your elbows are not at a 90-degree angle, adjust your office chair height either up or down.

Calf Measurement

With your bottom pressed against the back of your chair, try to stretch your clenched fist between the back of your calf and the front of your office chair. If you can't do this easily, then the office chair is too deep. You may need to adjust the backrest forward, add lower back support (such as a lumbar support pillow, pillow or rolled towel), or get a new office chair.

Thigh Measurement

Make sure you can easily slide your fingers under your thigh on the leading edge of the office chair. If it is too tight, you need to prop your feet up with an adjustable footrest. If you are exceptionally tall and there is more than one finger between your thigh and the chair, you need to raise your desk or worktop so that you can increase the height of the office chair.

Lower back support

Your butt should be pressed against the back of the chair and you should have a pillow that slightly curves your lower back so you don't slouch or slouch in the chair as you tire over time. This office chair lower back support is important to reduce the load (strain) on your back. Never slouch or lean forward in an office chair, as this puts more strain on the lower back and especially the lumbar discs.

Rest at eye level

While sitting comfortably with your head forward, close your eyes. Slowly open your eyes. Your gaze should be focused on the center of the computer screen. If your computer screen is higher or lower than your vision, you should raise or lower it to reduce strain on your upper back.

Adjust the arm of your office chair so that your arms are slightly raised above your shoulders. Using the armrest on your office chair is important to take some of the tension off your upper spine and shoulders and not slouch forward too much in your chair.

Stay active to reduce back pain in the office

No matter how comfortable a person is in an office chair, prolonged static posture is not good for the back and is a common cause of back problems and muscle tension.

To avoid staying in one position for a long time, remember to walk, stand, stretch and walk for at least a minute or two every half hour. Even a quick stretch or a little movement—like walking to the water cooler or the bathroom—can help.

Even a twenty-minute walk can help, promoting healthy blood flow that delivers essential nutrients to all spinal structures. In general, regular movement and stretching throughout the day helps keep joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons healthy, which in turn promotes overall comfort, relaxation and the ability to focus productively. Be sure to check out our office chairs catalog to fix your lower back pain.

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