The perfect back-friendly work chair (doesn’t exist).
You work in an office where you sit at your desk for 8 hours a day. You sit in your car to and from work, and in the evening you sit for dinner followed by sitting on the couch to watch TV. That’s a lot of sitting.
Unless you’ve jumped on the standing-desk bandwagon, your desk chair is an essential component of your day—and it absolutely must support your back.
So what makes the perfect back-friendly work chair?
Here we go:
Your height, weight, and shape is different from the person at the desk beside you. Your chair needs to fit you just right. Look for fully-customizable height, arm rest, back (lumbar), and seat tilt. Adjust the height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at 90° (or at least relaxed). If required, use an adjustable under-the-desk foot rest! The seat should not press into the back of your thighs because this interrupts blood flow and presses on your sciatic nerve—which causes leg pain.
Lock your butt in
It’s important that your bum doesn’t move around while you sit—lock it in! Don’t shift or slide forward. Sit firmly at the back of your chair to prevent low back pain.
Relax your shoulders
Too much tension on the neck, shoulders, and arms will cause discomfort. Your desk and keyboard should, therefore, be at a comfortable height so that your arms and shoulders are in a relaxed position.
Bottom line: We Sit Too Much
When you sit in the same position every day, you put pressure on your spine. This can reduce spinal curves, which puts stress on tissues, spinal muscles, nerves, and discs. The long-term result is fatigue, damage, and pain.
How do you stop this from happening?
Change positions throughout the day! The human body is meant to move, so get up and stretch periodically.
Sitting is to the spine what sugar is to the teeth
It’s a gravity thing.
A prolonged sitting posture stresses the spine and causes fluids to pool in your feet. Fight back! While sitting, move your feet and toes. Flex your knees to contract leg muscles and get those fluids moving.
Here are some great exercises you can do at work to introduce movement.
Tips to beat the desk chair:
Set a timer on your phone every 30 minutes to stand up and move for 30 seconds. Go to the bathroom, walk a lap around the office, or go get some water to move your muscles and joints, circulate blood, and encourage the flow of fluids.
Walk for at least 10 minutes every day at lunch or when you get home.
Lay down on your back and raise your feet up on a stool above the level of your heart and head for 5 minutes. The fluids that accumulate in your legs and feet throughout the day will drain back to the heart and brain.
Is there a perfect back-friendly desk chair?
No. Not by itself. No chair is going to solve the problems that come from prolonged sitting. Investing in a fully-adjustable desk chair is crucial to relieving some of the stress on your spine. But the key to a healthy spine for an office worker is to get up and move around—often. If you still experience lower back pain, stiff shoulders, or a sore neck, see your chiropractor.