4 Easy Ways to Avoid Desk Job Back Pain
Like most people with a desk job, I spend a great deal of time sitting in my office cubicle in front of a computer. Every job I’ve held post-college has been a desk job, and my non-work looks exactly like my “real” work—seated, with a laptop.
While I managed to stay active in my twenties, as time passed, I let other things take priority over exercise. During the last 4 years, I’ve been paying the price with an on-again, off-again case of lower-back pain. The infuriating part of it all is that I have an awesome ergonomic office chair, but I just don’t sit in it like I’m supposed to. I sit legs crossed, hunched over my computer. It’s a bad habit and it’s adding to my downward spiral towards sitting disease.
Here’s your chance to learn from my mistakes. If you want to avoid desk job back pain, follow these guidelines on the correct way to sit:
Check your posture.
Sit as close as possible to your office desk, with your upper arms parallel to your spine and your hands rested on the work surface. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle. If they are not, adjust your office chair higher or lower as necessary. Also, make sure that your legs are bent at the knees at a 90-degree angle. Try to maintain this ideal sitting posture as much as possible, and if you find yourself slacking, give yourself a break by getting up to do some office cubicle stretches.
Don’t sit too high.
Sitting in an office chair that is too high can increase the odds for back pain AND ankle swelling. A seat height ranging from 16 to 21 inches off the ground is suitable for most workers. To test whether or not your chair is too high, slide your finger underneath your thigh at the front end of the chair. If it’s easy to do, your chair is likely at a good height. If there is less than a finger’s width of space between your thigh and chair, your chair is likely too high.
Boost your feet.
If you find that your feet cannot touch the ground because of an office chair is too high and cannot be adjusted, consider using a footrest to prop and rest your feet as opposed to leaving them hanging all day long. Using a footrest will reduce pressure on the feet, which decreases foot and back pain at the end of the day.
Raise your work surface.
If you are like me and your posture is to blame for your back pain, try raising the height of your work surface. Sitting itself is not what’s giving you back pain, sitting improperly is what is giving you back pain. You might even try purchasing an adjustable height standing desk, where you can raise the height of your desk periodically. Raising your work surface naturally improves your back alignment. It’s almost impossible to fall into your habit of habitual hunching if you are standing. Standing forces your shoulder blades back to automatically correct your bad posture.
Chronic back pain is responsible for nearly $300 billion in lost productivity annually. ROSI Office Systems, Inc. can help you find solutions to improve your employees’ chronic work-related pain. ROSI Office Systems’ vendors include Humanscale, Global and Safco. All these top-rated vendors have created ergonomic chairs, sit-to-stand desks, standing desks, and more. Contact ROSI for a solution.