When you think of back-breaking jobs, you may think of construction workers who lift heavy objects and perform hard manual labor all day. Or truck drivers who sit for hours navigating stressful roads. Or maybe it’s the auto mechanic with the hardest job while fixing cars. Surprisingly, an office job can bring a lot of back pain too if your workstation is not setup properly. Here’s how to avoid back strain while sitting in an office chair.
The Proper Setup for Your Workstation
How you sit in your office chair is vitally important to reducing stress on your upper and lower back. You should sit up straight, with your head and shoulders back and elbows close to your body. You should lean on the backrest of your chair for lower back support to help maintain a mild curve or dip in your lower back. The front of the seat should not press into the back of your knees. Sit with the seat level with your knees or just slightly below your hips with your feet resting flat on the ground or on a footrest directly under your knees. Do not put your feet under your chair, sit with your legs crossed or sit with a leg or foot bent and underneath your bottom, as all of these positions really increase the amount of stress on the lower back and hips. A good side note for men: DO NOT sit on your wallet for long periods of time, since this is like having a wedge or lift in one shoe but not the other and it can throw your body off balance. Adjust the height of your chair so the top of the monitor is at or slightly below eye level. Keep the computer screen an arm’s length away so you are not moving your neck forward to see the screen. Finally, place the keyboard so it is at the same height as your elbows, as this will allow your arms and wrists to remain straight and minimize the risk of conditions like carpal tunnel, golfer’s and tennis elbow!
Get Up and Move
Make sure you get up and move around at least every hour now that your office workstation is setup properly. Sitting for long periods places incredible strain on your back muscles.
Relieving Lower Back Pain
Sitting in an office chair when you already have lower back pain can be unbearable, but there are many easy stretches you can do to stretch out and strengthen your back through the day. Read our blog post on the best stretches to relieve lower back pain to learn a great stretch you can do while sitting in your office chair.
Discuss any back pain you are experiencing with Dr. Rob and he can make further recommendations to help relieve and prevent back strain.