Do you suffer from lower back pain? If you’re one of the millions of people who spend nearly all 8 of your daily working hours in a desk chair, your office chair may the culprit. The cause may be the chair itself or your posture in the chair. By finding an alternate setting or chair, you can avoid the pain you’ve begun to think is unavoidable.
Stop Rolling Your Pelvis
No, this isn’t another dance move you wish you’d never learned. It’s a posture tendency that comes with sitting for extended periods of time. Basically, “pelvic roll” is just a fancy way of describing what happens when you slouch. It involves rolling the pelvis backwards, causing the vertebrae to come out of alignment. The result is to stress the discs between the lower vertebrae, which leads to the painful condition of herniated discs.
Try Adjusting Your Chair Height
If you find yourself slouching, your office chair’s height may be to blame. Particularly if your hips are lower than your knees, your chair may be aiding in your tendency to slouch. By adjusting your chair’s height so your hips are higher than your knees and your feet can rest flat on the floor or on a small stool, you’ll be less likely to succumb to poor posture.
The height of your office chair’s arm rests can be problematic, as well. Proper height allows your forearms to comfortably rest on them, without the need to shrug shoulders or slouch.
Attempt Getting the Right Support
Your chair’s height isn’t the only possible problem with your office chair. Without the right support for your lower back, you’ll probably tend to slump into your chair. The natural lordotic curve of your back needs support, enabling your shoulder blades, middle back, and lower back to comfortably make contact with the upright part of your chair.
Make Sure You Are Sitting Correctly
As long as your office chair is the right height and size to allow proper posture, you should be able to rest your feet on the ground, keep the backs of your knees within 1-2 inches from the seat, and support your back (from your pelvis to your shoulder blades) with the chair’s back.
Consider Thinking Outside the Chair
Even the perfect office chair means sitting, and sitting means putting stress on your lower back. Taking periodic breaks can help, but a more permanent solution is to transition to a standing work area. As the value of standing desks is being understood, they’re increasingly becoming more popular in the workplace. Some workplaces even allow for treadmills at workstations. Whether your cubical has room for such arrangements or not, you can probably do some of your work while standing and take more frequent breaks to give your back a rest. Each time you return, remind yourself to do a chair-height check and posture check to make sure you lessen the potential damage to your spine.
PhysioDC of Washington, D.C.
Daniel Baumstark and his professional team of physical therapists operate a boutique physical therapy office in downtown Washington, D.C. From athletes to government officials, and from ballerinas to corporate executives, PhysioDC helps people recover, strengthen and return to healthy living. Visit their site at PhysioDC.com or call them at 202-223-8500.
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