Office Chair: Ten Tips To Help You Improve Your Ergonomics And Posture
Over time, you can develop poor posture from habits that are caused by daily activities like taking care of small children, standing for long periods of time, driving, carrying your purse over the same shoulder, cradling your cell phone, looking at a computer screen, sitting at an office chair, or even the way you sleep. It is easy for poor posture to become second nature and habitual. This can cause and aggravate neck and back pain, which can lead to spinal structure damage.
Fortunately, the major factors that affect ergonomics and posture are completely within your ability to get under control and aren’t hard to change.
The following tips will provide you with some suggestions on several ways that you can improve ergonomics and posture, especially for individuals who work all day sitting in their office chairs.
1. Identify what the warning signs are for back pain that is caused by poor posture and ergonomics.
Back pain can be due to poor posture and ergonomics if your back pain is worse during certain times of the week or day (like after sitting all day long in an office chair, but not on the weekends); pain that begins in the neck and then moves down to the upper and lower back as well as the extremities; sudden back pain when starting a new job or getting a new car or office chair; pain that subsides after changing positions; back pain that can come and go for month at a time.
2. Keep your body aligned while standing and sitting in your office chair.
When you are standing up, make sure to evenly distribute your body weight evenly to the back, front and sides of your feet. When sitting in your office chair, use the chair’s features to your advantage. Sit up straight and be sure to align your hips, shoulder and ears in a single vertical line. Sitting in any one position for a prolonged time, even when it’s a good position, can get very tiring. To ease some of the work that your back muscles have to make, you can alternate between sitting with your back up against the office chair’s support to sitting forward on the edge of the chair’s seat with your back straight.
Some individuals benefit from having a posture that is naturally balanced. You can achieve this by sitting on top of a balance ball. With this posture, your pelvis gets rocked forward, which increases your lumbar curve and shifts your shoulders back naturally (this is similar to when you sit on the edge of the seat of a chair). In addition, be on the look out for and avoid having an unbalanced posture, like tilting your head, hunching your shoulders forward, leaning to one side or unevenly crossing your legs while sitting.
3. Get up and move around.
As your muscles start to get tired, slumping, slouching, and other kinds of poor postures are more likely to happen. This then places added pressure on your back and neck. To maintain a supported yet relaxed posture, be sure to frequently change positions. One thing you can do is take a break from sitting in your office chair for a couple of minutes every half hour or so, and walk, stand or stretch.
4. When sitting, use ergonomic office chairs and posture-friendly props.
One thing that can really help with taking the load and strain off of your spine is to use supportive ergonomic “props.” At work you can use an ergonomic office chair or a chair that has a back support that is adjustable.
– You can use a lumbar back support, footrest, a small pillow or towel while you are sitting in your office chair, while driving or on soft furniture.
– Use backpacks, bags and purses that have been designed so that back strain is minimized. They can influence good posture as well.
– Positioning your computer screen to a resting and natural eye position as well as wearing the right corrective eye wear can help you avoid leaning with your head tilted forward or straining your neck.
5. In everyday settings, increase awareness of your ergonomics and posture.
Becoming better aware of your ergonomics and posture at play, at home and at work is one of the most critical steps you can take towards implementing good ergonomic techniques and posture. It includes consciously making connections between back pain episodes and specific circumstances where poor ergonomics or posture might have been the pain’s root cause.
The next five points feature important ways that posture can be improved at work to help reduce stiffness along with neck and back pain.
– To be continued –