Don’t just do something… Sit there (properly… on a good chair)…
Sitting, we all sit more than we used to, and it’s causing us problems so much now that we see headlines such as ‘Sitting is the new smoking!!’ While being a bit melodramatic the article lays out some interesting statistics, especially the days missed by workers due to aches and pains associated with sitting in the office.
So why is sitting at a desk so problematic for us? It’s not as if it’s an extreme activity……is it? Well, in truth it is, any activity or position the body is in for an extended period of time can be viewed as an extreme activity, try standing still with weight through both feet for an hour, see how difficult it is.
Large portions of the workforce sit at computers all day at work, and this can produce problems commonly in the low back, neck and shoulders. There are three main ways that this environment produces problems.
1 – Unsuitable equipment
The desk , chair and computer are not up to scratch. Usually this is either old or worn equipment that has not been designed for the computer chair-borne generation. For example the chair cannot be adjusted for height so it can’t be brought close to the desk and keyboard, or there isn’t enough space for the computer on a cramped desk.
2 – Positioning of the equipment
It’s no good having up to date and flashy equipment if it’s not set up correctly. It’s very common to have people work at very modern desks with top of the range equipment still struggling with aches and pains due to having their workstation set up properly for them. Simple things like making sure your monitor is not placed off to the left or right, or the keyboard is far away from you on the desk meaning you have to reach for it.
3 – What you are doing!
No amount of great equipment is going to save your back if you sit in the chair badly. A good chair will give you a range of adjustments to allow you to get comfortable, set it up properly, sit in it well, and you will save yourself a load of grief. See our guide to a good workstation set up here.
By far the most important part to get right is the chair, it can be the most destructive element or the most supportive. A good chair must be adjustable in several ways, mainly for height and depth, this allows for a range of options for users of different heights. It also should have a wide base so it is possible for the user to adjust their position for different tasks. Bonus items would be an adjustable lumbar support (to allow for differences in spinal shapes) and a ‘tilt’ function to improve the reach over the desk if needed. Also it needs to be sturdy and well made, if it is flimsy when you first sit in it then it isn’t going to provide you with long term support for the endurance event that deskwork can be. If you want to know what is required by The Health and Safety Executive then look here.
Remember to view your workstation as essential survival equipment for your body, choose good kit, know how to set it up and use it well, it will save you from a world of pain
Do you want to know what is causing your pain and if we can help? Why not take advantage of our new patient assessment introductory offer to get you started towards a tailor made recovery plan for only £19.
Are you in a lot of pain and want to get better as soon as possible? If so then why not book in for a new patient consultation, with treatment on the day, for £65.
We are also there to help you from home. Take a look at our suite of exercise resources and advice sheets which you can easily download and use from home.