“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” -Morihei Ueshiba
Spending hours on end sitting in an uncomfortable office chair can cause lower back problems, if you do not have a proper fitting, high quality office chair. While it is recommended to take the proactive approach and invest in an office chair that is the perfect fit and comfort level for you, sometimes it isn’t always in the immediate budget. In the mean time, there are some things that you can do to decrease the lower back pain that is caused from sitting in a basic office chair that hasn’t placed importance on your comfort.
Adjust To Your Elbows
The first thing you can do to enhance the comfortability of your basic office chair is to adjust your elbow angles. Place your hands on your desk and adjust your office chair height to ensure that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle to your work surface, assuming that you do not have adjustable armrests.
Adjust To Your Thighs
The next step is to make sure that you can slide your thighs under your desk yet still be comfortable. You may need to raise or lower the chair to get comfortable. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle. This relieves pressure at the back of the legs, reduces pressure and increases blood flow. This is actually one of the most important aspects of adjusting your chair correctly. Your legs will let you know in a short period of time if the seat height is not adjusted correctly.
Adjust To Your Calves
When sitting with your butt planted firmly on the seat and your back up against the chair back, reach for your calves from the front of the chair. You should be able to do so effortlessly. If not, your office chair is positioned too deep and you need to readjust the backrest and move it forward for an increase in back support.
Additional Lower Back Support
In addition, the back cushion of the office chair should be right up against your lower back to keep your back slightly arched as opposed to slumped or slouched. This is vital to proper posture that will significantly decrease the amount of strain placed on your back. Never lean forward when working either. Keep your back pressed to the chair backing. Your back will thank you at the end of the day.
Correct Your Eye Level
When sitting in your chair, close your eyes and readjust yourself naturally so that you are facing forward. Open your eyes. Your gaze should be aimed at the center or top of your screen. If not, you need to raise or lower the chair height. This will reduce the strain placed on your upper back and also reduces eye fatigue.
Adjusting The Armrests
Your armrests should slightly lift your arms up at the shoulders. Do not underestimate this small element of office chairs as this will also decrease the amount of strain placed on your upper back, as well as your shoulders. It will also discourage any slouch.
As mentioned previously, you can instantly decrease the amount of stress that is placed on your arms, back, shoulders and legs by purchasing a new, high quality office chair with an ergonomic design that considers the importance of posture and your body proportions. For the rest of us, these tips should help ease the pain in the mean time.