You’ve probably heard the term “ergonomic chair.” This type of seat can improve your comfort when you are seated at your desk. More importantly, it helps maintain the health of your back. However, your chair can be the best model available, but if you aren’t sitting in it properly, no amount of ergonomically correct design will help keep back pain away.
7 Best Practices for Sitting in a Desk Chair
There is a right way to sit in your desk chair and there are plenty of wrong ways. Sitting with your legs crossed or even just your feet crossed can put stress on your back and spine. Here are only seven best practices for keeping back pain at bay while you’re sitting for hours and hours at your desk:
- Push your hips back as far as they can go to allow the chair shape to support your back and shoulders.
- Sit up straight and do not slouch.
- Keep your shoulders back.
- Plant feet firmly on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width apart.
- Adjust chair height so knees are even with hips and feet stay flat.
- Consider a chair with a headrest to reduce neck and shoulder strain from time to time.
- If necessary, support your lower back with a pillow.
It’s also important to have your computer screen at arm’s length and at eye level so that you are not straining to type or see.
While it may feel odd at first to sit so straight and have your feet flat on the ground, this is the best position for your body. If you compare this position to any other, you can feel the relief on your back when you move from crossed legs to perfect posture.
Choosing the Right Desk Chair for Your Back
If your office is purchasing a chair for you, don’t be afraid to make suggestions about the type of chair and support you need. After all, people with desk jobs spend nearly three-quarters of their work time sitting down.
If you’re doing your own research and making your own purchase, “test drive” any potential new seat thoroughly. Any chair can be comfortable for a minute or two. Over time, however, you could punish your back by using the wrong desk chair. You could end up with back pain and problems like:
- Pinched nerves
- Muscle strain
- Disc bulge
- Disc herniation
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Inflexible spine
- Back and spine injuries
- Chronic pain
You may want to consider a standing desk, treadmill desk, sitting on an exercise ball, or other ergonomic alternatives that make your body hold itself upright and use its core strength to support your back.
Get Relief from Your Back Pain
Sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to your overall health, especially for people who do not take breaks to stand up, walk around, and stretch. The reality is that sitting not only causes back problems but sedentary behavior can lead to obesity, poor cardiovascular health, a slower metabolism, and so much more.
Dr. Daniel Geck and his team at the Restorative Wellness Center in Ann Arbor will help you find relief for your back pain, and guide you in developing a healthier lifestyle and better habits to support your overall wellness with functional medicine. Contact us to make your appointment and discuss any chronic health concerns you may have.