Sitting in an office chair for long periods, without rest or stretch breaks, can leave you with back pain and muscle strain. This is why it’s important to take breaks and move around, to avoid keeping your back in the same position. Take a look at our tips on how to improve your posture whilst sitting in an office chair.
Tips on How to Prevent Back Pain in an Office Chair
Adjust the office chair
You will need to correctly adjust the office chair to suit your body physique. Please check the following:
- Low back support – your posterior should be pressed up against the back of the chair and your lower back should arch slightly. If you do not have this arch in your office chair, you can use a lumbar support cushion.
- Measure the angle of elbows and work surface – elbows should be at a 90-degree angle when your hands are on your work surface. If this is not the case, adjust your office chair’s height.
- Armrests – When correctly positioned, armrests should cause your arms to be somewhat raised at the shoulders.
- Measure the distance between your calf and office chair – there should be approximately a fist-sized amount of space between the edge of the chair and your calf. If there is not enough space, your chair is too deep and if there is too much space, you will need to adjust the back backwards.
- Eye-level – you should be looking at the centre of your computer screen/s. If your gaze does not meet the centre, you may need to adjust the computer screen level.
- Measure the distance between your thigh and chair edge – if you can pass your fingers under your thigh at the edge of the office chair seat, you are fine. If not, you may need to invest in a footrest.
Many of us are guilty of slouching at our desks, but this posture can overstretch our spinal ligaments, straining discs and spinal structures. Avoiding the temptation to slouch will prevent back pain and damage to spinal structures. Our next tip will discuss the best posture to straighten your back.
Retain good posture
Firstly, ensure that the back is aligned against the back of the chair. Keep your arms flexed between 75 and 90 degrees (if this is not possible, try adjusting the chair) and keep your knees even with the hips or slightly higher. Feet should be flat on the floor but if this is not possible, you should ask for a footrest. Finally, although it can be tempting to slouch, try your best to keep your shoulders straight.
Take regular breaks
As mentioned, it is not good to stay in the same position for a prolonged amount of time, this is because static posture leads to back pain and muscle strain. Although it can be difficult to remember (especially if you’re busy), it is beneficial to stretch and walk around every half hour (even if you’re just walking to the kitchen to top up on water). This increased level of movement will maintain healthy blood flow and enhance comfort and productivity.