The average person spends about eight hours a day in a chair behind their desk. This long period of sitting causes many to endure mild to heavy back pain. Why does this occur? It’s all in the chair.
Most office chairs do not support backs properly. Until recently, little attention has been paid to ergonomics, but rather to the chair’s look and feel. Thus, some office furniture – albeit stylish – allows for slouching and stress to the back and neck, shoulders, arms and legs.
Good chairs should have proper ergonomic design in order to prevent repetitive strain injuries, such as neck and back pain. Ergonomic chairs, which are designed around the body and environment, not only relieve pain but can also aid in productivity.
The best known ergonomic chair, the Aeron was created more than 10 years ago, during the internet boom, by Herman Miller. Unlike the upholstery-based leather chairs found in most offices at the time, the new Aeron chairs were not attractive, but practical. The chair was available in all different sizes and was completely adjustable, providing healthy comfort and balanced support
The Embody, Herman Miller’s newest chair making news lately, is a one-size-fits-all. It adjusts to the user’s shape based on body height and weight. The back of the Embody even emulates a spine and adapts to movement, adjusting to shifting positions. Because of its agility, the Embody is said to promote blood and oxygen flow, which keeps the brain more focused and functional. As reviewed by Barron’s reporter Jay Palmer, “I have been testing a loaned unit with nary a touch of my normal back-pain.”
Some other ergonomic chairs sit the user in a semi-kneeling position, which decreases stress on the spine by equalizing weight between your back and your shins. They are less expensive than the Herman Miller chairs, but can offer the same benefits. The drawback would be that some people might not find them office appropriate because of the positioning.
Finally, even with a good chair that relieves back pain, it must be used properly to see the benefits. In order to adjust the chair for optimum comfort at the office, follow these six tips.
Remember, it’s all about the chair! However, if back pain from sitting is still a recurring problem, set up an appointment to be seen by a specialist at Non-Surgical Orthopaedics.
Arnold J. Weil, M.D., of Non-Surgical Orthopaedics, P.C. in Atlanta, Ga. specializes in spine care and pain management. His office’s approach is to identify and treat the cause of the pain, not just the symptoms. The practice has a strong emphasis on injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for back, neck and upper body injuries. The practice has highly skilled and trained Board Certified Physicians.