Keeping your body in alignment and maintaining a neutral spine position is imperative to your health and comfort. Poor posture leads to severe health consequences and chronic pain.
Whether you experience back discomfort or want to prevent it from happening, you should be familiar with the parts of your back that need support. Read this article to understand what kind of support to look for when buying office chairs or accessories.
Guide to Office Back Support
Your body should be supported when sitting for extended periods; this section discusses the different kinds of back support. Some are more crucial for your comfort than others, but all will benefit your body in both the short term and long term.
Lumbar support is by far the most important back support. Casual furniture like couches or reclining chairs rarely offer lumbar support, but your office chair certainly should. If you don’t have decent lumbar support in your office chair, we recommend upgrading your chair or purchasing a detachable lumbar support pillow.
To reduce upper back pain and neck strain, you should have comfortable head support. A proper headrest will cradle your skull, taking most of the weight to offer to your neck so your spine can expand. You will feel significantly more comfortable, but the wrong headrest could make things worse.
Do not use a headrest that you need to tilt your neck backward to reach or one that pushes your neck forward slightly. When you sit up straight in a comfortable position, the base of your skull should ever so gently rest on your head support. Most headrests are adjustable so you can easily achieve this position.
When talking about back pain and back support, many people do not think of the bottom of their seats. One of the worst things office workers do is shift back and forth between buttock cheeks, shifting their hips.
People do this as it provides a sense of relief from sitting all day, but it can harm your spine. Shifting on your hips like this compresses your spine too much to one side, which can lead to spine curvature.
The most supportive seat bottoms for backs are often extra padded and shaped like a ‘W’. The curved shape cradles your body better and prevents you from shifting in your seat. This type of seat bottom will relieve lower back pain as well as the coccyx or hip pain you experience from sitting.
Some office chairs are made of mesh or thin leather, which is totally fine and very ergonomically appropriate for people. But if you suffer from back, neck, or hip pain, you should only seek out well-padded chairs.
The last thing your spine wants is to have hard plastic or metal pieces adding pressure. A thin layer of mesh or polyester will not be enough to protect your spine from harsh materials. So to keep your spine in alignment, the more padding, the more comfortable you will be.
Consequences of Poor Posture
These are the most severe consequences of practicing poor posture throughout the workday. To avoid these problems, you should make sure your chair offers you proper back support to help you achieve a neutral spine position.
If you sit with incorrect posture, the first consequence will be back and neck pain, and sometimes shoulder pain. No one wants to be in pain, but being in pain at work has far-reaching effects on your life.
Plus, this pain will likely not end when you leave work. So you will be in discomfort at home and when you try to sleep, leading to an array of health problems.
If you sit with the wrong posture every single day for hours on end, your spine will begin to form to this position. This condition is spine curvature when your spine neglects to fall into this natural ‘S’ shape.
Severe spine curvature can be permanent and painful, with many people needing physical therapy for years to remedy their spine. The natural shape of the human spine absorbs shock, reducing the likelihood of bodily injury. When your spine loses its natural shape, it cannot perform this function as well, possibly leading to injuries.
Spinal curvature can lead to all of the consequences listed below.
When you practice poor posture, especially concerning your neck, this can lead to headaches or migraines. When you put an unnecessary and unnatural strain on your posterior neck muscles, this can have a direct impact on stress or tension headaches. And in the worst cases, it can lead to chronic migraines that can be difficult to cure.
If your body suffers through an uncomfortable position all day long, it can be difficult to find a comfortable spot in bed. When people can’t get comfy in bed, they often start to toss and turn and don’t ever reach a proper state of R.E.M. Not only is this frustrating at home, but a lack of sleep will likely only make your posture worse, therefore, compacting all of these symptoms.
That’s right, hunching over or leaning back can lead to poor digestion. Our digestive tract works best when we practice perfect posture. If your body is compacted unnaturally, it makes it more difficult for substances to successfully pass through the tract. You may even have stomach cramps or mild abdominal discomfort due to poor posture.
Most of us are tired after a long day at the office, but if you practice poor posture and don’t have appropriate back support, you will feel significantly more tired at the end of the day. When you are uncomfortable or in pain, it takes up space in your mind as it’s hard to focus on work when you are in discomfort.
Improving your posture with back support can improve work productivity and overall satisfaction.
Do not wait to offer the correct support to your back, especially when you spend hours sitting in a chair staring at a computer. No one is exempt from problems like spine curvature.
Make sure your chair or chair accessories offer you the necessary support discussed in the article.
Then keep looking. Not all ergonomic chairs will be ideal for everybody and every spine. Even if you’re sitting in the most expensive, ergonomically-designed office chair ever made if it is uncomfortable it isn’t right for you.