Statistics show that 85% of people in the United States suffer from pain in their neck and back at some time in their life. In addition, more than half of the people who are employed end chained to a desk 40 plus hours a week. The combination of incorrect seating in a sedentary position for long periods of time that add to the back and neck pain syndrome that plagues so many of us on a regular basis.
One of the things that you can do to help prevent as well as ease your pain while on the job is to get an office chair that is best suited to keeping your back and neck in a comfortable position. There are specific measurements you will need to coordinate with your office chair to so the pressure is off your spine and lower back. It will be worth the time to set up these measurements before you buy your office chair because once you bring it to work you will be spending more than 2,000 hours a year sitting in it.
Make sure you check out our picks for the 5 Best Office Chairs for Back and Neck Pain.
Tips to Make Sure Your Office Chair is the Right Fit
- Chair height
First, you need to adjust your new chair to the height of your desk. Make sure that you are able to comfortably work on your computer.
- Your height
No matter how tall or short you are, this is the time to make sure that your chair adjusts so that your feet easily reach the floor. Make the proper adjustments so that you are not cramped or your legs are not dangling over the sides of your seat.
- Elbow room
Make sure you are able to sit at your desk and your elbows can rest at a 90-degree angle.
Adjust your chair so that when you place your arms on the armrest there is no pressure on your neck or shoulders. You may find yourself in this position for long periods of time so you want to make sure you have ample room.
- Back and lumbar support
Look for an ergonomic chair that provides you with the right level of support for your body. Too little support will be a waste of money and too much may be too constrained.
- Seating material
Some people like the feel of real leather while others gravitate towards a heavy-duty material for the seat combined with a mesh back.
Alternatives to Ergonomic Chairs
If you are not interested in shopping for an ergonomic chair you can choose from a couple of alternative options:
- An exercise ball.
Yes, this is the same type of exercise ball that you use at the gym. When you sit on an exercise ball it helps to strengthen your stomach muscles. When you take a break, you can position the exercise ball against the wall and with your back walk the ball up and down the wall. If you have severe pain in your back and neck you should talk with your doctor first to make sure you don’t hurt yourself further when you try to balance yourself.
- A kneeling ergonomic chair
A kneeling ergonomic chair is exactly what it sounds like. There is no back to this chair and when you sit on it, you assume a forward kneeling position. It is extremely comfortable and takes all of the pressure off your spine as it evenly distributes your weight on the chair.
- A height-adjustable standing stool
With more emphasis on sedentary workers taking time to stand on a regular basis, there are now desks that can be pulled up and chairs that can adjust so you can sit or stand when you need to. You can find an array of height-adjustable standing desks on the Internet and the chairs that are used with them
Tips to Ease Back and Neck Pain While on the Job
Even if you find yourself the most comfortable chair that eliminates your pain while you are working, there are things you should continue to do to help strengthen your back and neck areas.
- Make sure you get up and move for at least 10 – 15 minutes every hour.
- Adjust your keyboard so it is at the optimum level of comfort for your use. Closer is better and tilted is even better. Use a wrist pad with your mouse if needed.
- Try to perform a simple stretch whenever you can throughout the day. Bend from the waist and hang down like a rag doll to loosen your spine.
- Check the Internet for a zero-gravity chair for your home. It is not something you can use at the office, but it will take all the pressure off your back, spine, and neck when you use it at your home. You can find them for about $40 to $80 for two chaise lounge chairs you can relax in at home.
- Do a quick series of shoulder rolls while you are on a long phone call or have an extra minute or two. These simple moves will help keep your neck and shoulders limber.
- If you have trouble keeping the circulation in your legs going, try a foot rest. They sell several different types but pay special attention to the ones that are adjustable and the ones that vibrate to increase your circulation.
- If you have your own office, close the door at lunch time, lie on the floor, put your hands under your shoulders and push upwards. This is a yoga position called the Cobra and it will make your back feel wonderful.
- Keep your posture under control – don’t slouch!
- Make sure you keep unnecessary strain on your neck by using a speakerphone or headset when making phone calls.
If you have serious issues with your back and neck, make sure you consult your physician before attempting any exercises mentioned in this article.