Office Chair Advice to Beat Back Pain
If you’re like most people, and you happen to be sitting in an office chair right now, you are probably on the edge of your seat, hunched over while reading this. You may not think much of it (in fact, you may not have noticed until just now), but the truth is that your current posture is bad for your back.
Computers are very effective at holding people’s attention, and for that reason, people tend to lean forward to read the screen and access their keyboard. It may not be readily noticeable while you are engrossed in whatever you’re doing, but leaning forward as little as 30 degrees can cause three or four times more stress on your back.
This is because your muscles have to work a great deal more to keep your body upright, sort of the same way it takes more effort to keep a bike from falling flat when it’s leaning to the side. If you’re sitting straight, on the other hand, then you don’t put as much stress on your back. A good chair and a properly organized work area can help you do that, but there are other techniques that can keep back strain to a minimum.
Tennis Ball Trick
Place two tennis balls between your back and the back of the chair, one on each side of your spine. Now, your goal is to hold them there with your back. This requires you to keep your posture upright. Since the balls aren’t quite as comfortable as the back of your chair might be, you’ll be aware of their presence. If you happen to forget and lean forward, they’ll remind you to keep your back straight by falling down. In addition to that, they provide an added benefit: they’ll massage your back for you.
Okay, they won’t actively massage it, but they’ll put a bit of pressure on your back muscles and stimulate blood flow, allowing your back to loosen up. This further relieves the stress that sitting puts on your back, which can help prevent a variety of ailments, such as worn spinal discs, joints, and ligaments.
You can loosen things up further by doing a simple stretch while sitting down. This involves sitting on the edge of your chair (yes, it’s okay this time) and clasping your hands behind your back with the palms together. If possible, touch the base of the back of your chair with your knuckles. Once you are in position, take a deep breath and let your head tilt back. Your shoulders should be pulled back by the stretch. Then exhale. Hold it for a few breaths, and then slowly relax out of the stretch. This will help “open” your back, reducing tension and facilitating circulation.
Applying these techniques will minimize back pain while you’re working. Now you just have to remember to sit up straight.