Like it or not, most of us sit down for the majority of the day. Sitting in an office chair for prolonged periods of time can lead to low back pain or exacerbate an already existing back problem. Why? Sitting in a chair is a static posture, which increases the amount of pressure on your back, shoulders, arms, and legs. The body’s natural tendency in this situation is to slouch down in the chair, over-stretching spinal ligaments and straining the discs and other surrounding structures of the spine.
The right office chair can maximize back support and maintain good posture, but how can you know if your chair is working for you? Follow these steps:
- Elbow Measure: Sit as close as possible to your desk so that your upper arms are parallel to your spine. Check to see that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle when your hands rest on your desk. If they don’t, adjust the height of your chair either up or down until they reach the 90-degree angle.
- Calf Measure: With your bottom pushed against the chair’s back, attempt to pass your closed fist between the back of your calf and the front of your office chair. If you can’t, your office chair is too deep. Either adjust the backrest forward or use a pillow for support.
- Low Back Support: A great office chair has a cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly when your bottom is pressed against the back of the chair. This arch prevents you from slouching, minimizing the strain on your back.
- Resting Eye Level: To test this, close your eyes with your head facing forward. As you slowly open your eyes, your sightline should be on the center of your computer screen. If your screen is higher or lower than your sightline, raise or lower your chair to reduce the strain on your spine.
- Arm Rest: The armrest of your office chair should slightly lift your arms at the shoulders. This helps reduce strain on the upper spine and shoulders.
While no chair can serve your spine as well as regular chiropractic care and exercise, it is certainly an important element to living a life of overall wellness. Do you have an office chair that you love? We’d love to know so we can spread the word!