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Give Your Neck, Back and Legs a Break

woman with lower back pain from sitting wrong at her desk

Research shows that sitting is the hardest activity on the back, other than lifting weight off the floor from a bent-over position.

Some physicians think that many of our modern day back troubles afflict us because we spend most of the day sitting.  Research shows that sitting is the hardest activity on the back, other than lifting weight off the floor from a bent-over position.

Sitting Better at Home

At home, firm wooden chairs are usually better than soft fabric chairs or couches. If you sink low, you can’t get out  without bending or twisting your neck and back. Some people are helped by recliner  chairs, some are not – the biggest problem is getting out. The best way to get out of any chair is to scoot your hips forward until you are on the edge of the chair, then stand up without bending your back and neck. Have a comfortable chair in each room that is designated as “yours.”

Pain Prevention at the Office

In the office, you need an adjustable chair if you spend more than an hour a day there – especially useful if more than one person uses the chair. When considering possible adjustments, here are some things to look for:

  • Height adjustment, so you can sit with both feet flat on the floor and no pressure areas on the thighs. Height adjustment also helps the chair remain low enough to go under the table, and minimizing the need to lean forward.
  • 5-6 rollers on the base to help the chair move and to prevent it from falling over.
  • Arm height adjustable to be able to fit under the desk and allow a person to rest their elbows without tilting their spine or pelvis.
  • Seat should tilt forward to use when under a desk, and tilt backward to reach other work areas.
  • Chair back should adjust so it contacts the spine. A built-in lumbar support is helpful, but unless it’s adjustable, it may cause discomfort. Better to buy an inflatable support to attach it to the chair.
  • Computer screen should be located so hands work in front of the screen and the neck is not rotated or tilted. Try not to work more than 30 minutes without changing position. Use a timer as needed. The strain that  occurs in the office at 2 p.m. may not hurt until 2 a.m. Timers are extremely helpful.
  • Consider a standing table. Or, as a low cost alternative, a cardboard  box works well to raise the work level high enough to stand while working. U-Haul sells a tough “File Storage Box” that is the right height and even has hand holds. A piece of smooth particle board, plywood or Formica added to the top of the box makes writing easier, but it is not necessary.
  • A pillow to support the neck in a high back chair is helpful.
  • If you spend a significant amount of time on the phone and have neck problems, try to use the speaker or a headset.

Don’t Let Neck and Back Pain Affect Your Home and Work Life – Get Quality Care

Many of the orthopedic conditions which we commonly face today can be addressed with nonsurgical treatment. For serious back and spine problems, seek quality orthopedic care.