Is there a way to make the workplace more?
According to a survey done by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples Inc., your chair may make a difference. The study found that 86 percent of office workers report some discomfort from their office furniture and equipment. More than 30 percent said they would be more pleasant at work with better chairs. As employees put in longer hours at their desks, bad office chairs are a big problem. Combined with the fact that companies are cutting costs and employees are stuck with old chairs that don't fit and are not comfortable.
So, what is the best chair for work to prevent and reduce discomfort and pain? In a recent study published in The Spine Journal, the official journal of the North American Spine Society, multiple seats were tested to examine which imposed the least about of force on the spine. Sitting on a Swiss ball imposed the most amount of force on the back and should be avoided for office work and extended periods of time. The stool was the second most impactful type of seat and the best chair to reduce workload on the spine was an office chair, a 47 percent reduction compared to the Swiss ball.
This is important because many lower-back issues are result of overuse. Sitting for long periods of time exerts a low but prolonged force on the lower back.
World renowned lower-back expert and author of the book "Low Back Disorders" Dr. Stuart McGill offers a three-point plan for reducing troubles during prolonged sitting. First, is to use an ergonomic chair. There really is no ideal sitting position, however, there are better positions. Adjusting the chair so that the hips and knees are bent 90 degrees with the back on the back rest is proven to reduce force on the spine. Although, the result is still prolonged loads on specific tissues that eventually will get tired and break down. The best idea is to find several different comfortable sitting positions and alternate between them to transfer the force around.
The second idea is to get out of the chair often, every 20 minutes if possible. This greatly reduces the load on the back. Gentle stretching and walking around are also recommended. The last strategy to reduce back trouble is performing an exercise routine. Included exercises that work the back side of the body. The glutes, core and back are all important to help balance out the forces of sitting for long hours.
- Kyler Crouse, BS, CSCS, FMS is a personal fitness coach who works out of Sierra Athletic Club and in the homes of clients in the greater Lake Tahoe area. Please visit www.KCstrength.com for more information.