Did you know an office job can negatively affect your health? Sitting too much has become recognized as a serious health issue in the U.S. If you sit all day, it would be good to alternate standing and sitting while at work if possible. While you are sitting, her are some simple tips to improve you office ergonomics to ensure the health of your spine.
Take Note of Your Posture
Ensuring you keep the correct sitting posture is the best way to improve your spinal health and workplace ergonomics. Sit as close as you can to your desk, make sure you have your upper arms parallel to your spine and have your hands resting on the work surface. Then adjust your office chair up or down as necessary, making sure you have your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Be sure that your legs also bending at the knees at a 90 degree angle. It is ideal to adjust your office ergonomics so you can maintain this ideal sitting posture as easily as possible. If you find that that is difficult to maintain, you may need to take regular breaks so you can get up, walk around and stretch.
Avoid Sitting Too High In Your Chair
Do you find that your ankles swell by the end of the day? The average person will see swelling in the ankles of up to 6% or 8%, and if you have back or circulation problems that can increase to 10% or 15%. If you sit too high in your chair, this can increase swelling in your ankles. The best way to check your seat height is to check the space between the back of your leg (just behind your knee) and your chair. If there is a fingers width of space, the height is good. If there is less than finger width height then your chair is probably too high.
Raise Up Your Desk If Needed
If there is more than a finger width of space when doing the finger test, you may be too tall for your desk. In this case you should consider raising your desk. When you do this you will reduce the stress and pressure on your low back. If your desk is too high a solution may be just getting a foot stool, this will also help reduce foot pain at the end of the day.
Take a Look Your Seat
You should take a look at the depth of your chair to ensure proper office ergonomics. Your chair depth is the distance from the front edge of you seat and the back of the chair. Having the right chair depth is crucial to maximizing the circulation in your legs during the day. In order to make sure the depth of your chair is proper for optimal office ergonomics, simply measure the space between the front edge of the seat and your calves. Stick your fist in that space, if there is at least enough space for your fist to fit, then your chair depth is perfect for you. If adjustment are needed, try moving your backrest forward, inserting a pillow, or rolled up towel to support the low back, or look for a new chair that fits you properly.
Always Make Sure Your Back Has Good Support
Back support is a main focus of office ergonomics. With this in mind, it is crucial that your office chair provides back support angling just past 90 degrees or up to 90 degrees, also there should be cushioning that pushes your back forward when sitting back in your chair. Proper low back support will help prevent slouching, and in turn decrease low back pain.
Be Aware of Your Posture
Often times you get your office ergonomics set perfectly, but then you don’t take advantage of it and you let your posture fall apart during the day. In order to avoid this, it is important to make a conscious effort to sit with your bottom pressed against the back of the chair, and make sure to avoid slumping or slouching, this puts added stress on the lumbar discs and other stuctures in the low back.
Be Aware of Your Screen Height
Once you have your chair and your desk adjusted properly, your legs are comfortable, and your back is correctly supported, now the final part to maximizing your office ergonomics is having your computer screen at the proper height. To check this start by sitting up straight, close your eyes and take a deep breath. While keeping your eyes closed, casually look forward, and then open your eyes. The center of your computer screen shold be right in the middle of your gaze. If not, make the proper adjustment so that your screen is level with your line of sight. This adjustment can be made with a computer riser or simply use books to raise your screen to the right height.
Check In with Your Bend Chiropractor
If you find that these tips on improving your office ergonomics do not help alleviate the pain you are experiencing, check in with your BendChiropractor. A physical exam may point to some more specific problems that can be fixed with chiropractic care and manual therapy. But more often than not, sometimes not matter what you do.
Stayed tuned for more tips and information about chronic pain, sports medicine, and other musculoskelatal conditions. My goal as your Bend Chiropractor is to educate the community on how through some simple lifestyle changes you can find pain relief and improve your quality of life for good.