The Office Chair and Your Spine

by | Nov 21, 2022 | colorado spine doctor

Office jobs are notorious for prolonged hours spent behind a desk. While the mental toll can be substantive, the physical impact of this arrangement is often overlooked. Hours, days, weeks, months, and years of consistently sitting in office chairs can add up and cause serious spinal issues, especially if you have preexisting back problems.

Rather than resigning yourself to a life of discomfort and pain as a result of your job, find hope in knowing there are steps you can take to make your workspace more supportive of good back health. With a few small changes, you can set yourself up for a healthier back both now and long term. Whether you currently suffer from back pain or are trying to avoid it altogether, you’ll want to consider the following tips.

Posture is Priority

No matter what chair and desk combination you find yourself using, paying particular attention to posture can be the difference between a healthy back and one that experiences injury and pain. Ideally, you will be able to choose a chair with proper lower back support. If not, consider investing in a lumbar pillow or similar device that can give you the support you need.

Adjust your chair so you can place your feet flat on the ground (or utilize a footrest). Try to keep your thighs parallel to the ground, keep your hips aligned and shoulders back. Imagine stacking your hips, shoulders, and head in a vertical line. Always remember to remove items from your back pockets, as they can lead to imbalances and pain over time.

Be Mindful of Your Screen and Keyboard

If you do not have the ability to invest in your own desk and office chair, you should make the effort to control what you can control within the environment you are given. For example, be sure to arrange both your keyboard and monitor in an ergonomic manner. Your screen should be at eye height and straight ahead of you to prevent poor neck positioning vertically or side-to-side. Your keyboard should be placed in such a way that it is comfortable to use without strain. You should not have to hunch, reach, or otherwise create bodily stress to type.

Offset Your Time Sitting

If you spend the majority of your workday seated, be sure to offset it by taking breaks. This can be as simple as standing and doing minor stretches in place (touching your toes, reaching for the ceiling, rotating your torso from one side to the other, and so on). You can even take a short walk just to get your body active and blood flowing.

Outside of the workplace, invest in your body with the knowledge that you spend significant time in an office chair. Exercise your core, stretch, walk, and be active. Even small amounts of physical activity can work wonders for your body that has been subjected to a seated position for hours at a time.

Invest in an Office Chair or Standing Desk

If possible, consider purchasing an office chair that is right for you. Such a chair should offer you the back and arm support necessary to facilitate good posture. There is a surprising amount of research that goes into the development of these chairs, so consider speaking to your doctor to find the chair that is best for your unique anatomy and work environment.

Another alternative to the standard desk and office chair combo is a standing desk. While a significant change from what most office workers are accustomed to, standing desks encourage better posture and break the repetitive mold of sitting for hours at a time. If possible, find a way to try a standing desk before purchasing one.

If you work in an office, you don’t have to resign yourself to a future of back pain. Instead, you can keep your back healthy and pain-free by following the tips above. For more tips, including advice specifically tailored to you, consider reaching out to your doctor. They’ll gladly bring their expertise to your conversation and work with you to create a better work environment for your back.


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