Help Your Back with Some Ergonomic Ideas for Your Office Chair
If you've tried a variety of office chairs and your back pain persists, you may need to switch from the traditional seated-chair design to an alternative method.
Here are five options to consider; experiment with a few to see which ones work best.
Working while standing is possible with a Standing desk. Standing engages your core muscles more than sitting, which can result in improved posture and spinal alignment. Altering between sitting and standing can also help with chronic back pain management.
If you decide to use a standing desk, keep the following tips in mind:
- Ascertain that your standing desk is raised to a comfortable working height.
- While using a computer, your arms should be able to bend at a 90-degree angle, and you should be able to look straight ahead at your monitor without tilting your neck down.
- Put a thick (or memory foam) mat underneath you to protect your feet and knees.
- Consider using a pedestal or footstool to allow you to shift your weight on occasion.
- Use a standing desk converter to help you transition from sitting to standing. It is designed to sit on top of your existing desk and can be raised to the height of a standing desk. As you feel comfortable, alternate between sitting and standing.
Office chair that reclines and has a laptop stand
Try a reclining office chair if you prefer to work in a reclined position rather than sitting upright. To work comfortably, a recliner chair has a headrest, footrest, and an ergonomically positioned laptop stand.
A recliner chair has the following benefits:
- It may prevent you from sagging forward and putting strain on your lower back.
- Working on the computer does not require you to slant your neck or strain your arms.
- Different levels of reclination may suit different people, so you may need to experiment with a few different angles. For extra support, place a small rolled towel in the small of your lower back.
Ball for exercise
Slouching can be reduced by sitting on an exercise ball. Your body must adjust and balance as a result of the dynamic sitting experience, which helps strengthen your core and lower back.
Sitting on an exercise ball is an active process that necessitates constant body balance. When sitting on an exercise ball:
- To stay balanced, your body constantly makes minor adjustments, which engages the muscles in your core and lower back.
- Because there is no backrest, it encourages good posture.
- If you like to fidget or move around, the exercise ball allows you to do so.
- Check the size of your exercise ball, as they come in a variety of sizes. When you sit on the ball, your hips and knees should be at the same level (or about an inch higher than your knees). Your thighs should be level or slightly slanted down to your knees in this position.
To keep the ball from rolling away when you stand up, consider purchasing an exercise ball with a bottom base or an exercise ball chair.
Stool with ergonomics
An ergonomic stool, also known as a balance stool or active stool, is a type of dynamic seating that is similar to an exercise ball.
When using this stool:
- Because of the high seat, you are encouraged to half-stand with your feet on the floor, relieving pressure on your lower back.
- Because of the pivoting base and lack of a backrest, you must engage your core and maintain good posture.
Some people prefer an ergonomic stool to an exercise ball because it is less noticeable in a professional setting while providing many of the same benefits.
A kneeling chair has a padded seat and is angled forward to transfer some of your body weight to your shins and knees.
Sitting in a kneeling chair:
- Your spine is more neutral, relieving pressure on your lower back.
- The absence of a backrest promotes good posture and may help to prevent slumping.
It may be difficult to sit in the kneeling position for long periods of time at first, so switch to another chair or seating option at regular intervals. Even if you become adjusted and comfortable in a kneeling chair, it is best to alternate with another chair to avoid prolonged kneeling. Also, make sure to get an adjustable kneeling chair so you can find the best position for you.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to experiment with different options and pick the one that feels right for you. Remember that no matter which office chair alternative you choose, taking breaks several times, a day is one of the best ways to keep your back healthy. Plan to go for a short walk and stretch your back, neck, and hamstring muscles every 50 minutes to an hour to improve the strength, stability, and flexibility of your spine.