Are you looking to improve your back pain while stuck at your desk? Perhaps these office products can help you relieve that back pain while you work!
Office Products That Can Help Improve Your Back Pain
Office jobs can be great, but sitting behind a desk for hours at a time can also take a toll on your body. Lower back pain is among the most common types of chronic pain, affecting more than 16 million Americans every year, according to a study conducted by Georgetown University.
Along with the nine to five office gig, working from home has also become extremely popular in recent years. In 2020, with the pandemic at its peak, a Pew Research study found that nearly 71% of working adults did all, or the majority, of their work from home.
As millions of Americans across the country enter back into the workforce, and with millions more continuing to work from home, desk-centered jobs are at an all-time high. To help protect your body from the aches and pains associated with sitting at a desk, we’ve compiled a list of four gadgets you should consider adding to your office.
Sit-Stand Desks Can Help Ease Stress on Your Lower Back
Standing desks have become an office-place phenomenon over the last few years. You may have even heard the phrase, ‘sitting is the new smoking,’ which refers to the supposed dangers of a sedentary lifestyle.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that prolonged periods of sitting can lead to weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and perhaps most notably, back and neck pain.
A 2018 study, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that people who used a sit-stand desk experienced a 50% decrease in their lower back pain when paired with counseling to improve sedentary behavior.
Another similar study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that participants that used a sit-stand desk had an overall reduction of 54% in upper back pain after just four weeks.
Sit-stand desks have also been shown to slightly increase the number of calories burned throughout the day (1.5 calories more per minute compared to sitting). Standing while working has also been shown to increase productivity by up to 45%.
It’s important to note that a sit-stand desk, like any other lifestyle change, can have side effects on your body. If you are not used to standing for long periods, you may run the risk of developing back, leg, or foot problems, which can be counterproductive if you’re looking to alleviate that pain.
Instead of jumping, or in this case standing, right into a sit-stand desk, try easing into it by standing for intervals of 30-60 minutes at a time. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up, and try mixing in some short walks throughout the day to help keep you active.
A Good, High-Quality Chair Can Give Support Where You Need it Most
If you’re not someone that enjoys the idea of standing at your desk all day, or if you enjoy a mixture of standing and sitting, you should ensure that you have a high-quality desk chair. Most office-supplied desk chairs are designed with functionality in mind rather than comfort.
If you plan on spending hours at a time sitting, then ensuring you have the right chair can be the difference between a healthy day at the office, and a day riddled with backaches and low productivity.
When choosing a desk chair, there are a few things you should consider. First, does the chair offer the support you need? Most cases of lower back pain in people who are seated for long periods stem from a lack of lumbar support.
The lumbar spine, an area of the lower back consisting of five vertebrae between ribs and the pelvis, has a natural, inward curvature known as the lordotic curve. Sitting for long periods without proper support can strain this area of the spine, causing you to slouch forward, which can lead to serious back and neck pain.
Lumbar support helps promote good posture by filling in the gap between the lumbar spine and your chair, keeping the natural curvature of the lumbar spine stress-free.
A good, high-quality office chair should also be highly adjustable to seat you at the proper height for your desk. Your seat height should be somewhere between 16-21 inches from the ground, and your armrests should be high enough to keep your forearms off of your desk.
You should view choosing an office chair much like you would a bed. If you’re going to be spending a large amount of time sitting in it, you should not only enjoy sitting in it but also be pain-free when doing so.
A good office chair doesn’t have to break the bank, but you should consider spending a little more money to help keep your spine healthy.
Use an Adjustable Computer Monitors to Save Your Neck
Staring at a computer monitor for long periods can have a number of negative effects on your body, including eye strain and chronic headaches. However, your monitor could be causing you more than just the occasional headache, especially if it is not at the correct height.
Looking too high or too low at your computer screen can greatly increase the strain on your neck and upper back muscles. Your computer monitor should always be directly in front of you, at an angle that allows you to see all parts of your screen without having to twist your neck.
To protect your neck and upper back from excessive strain while working from your computer, ensure your monitor is at least 20 inches away from your eyes, a good rule of thumb is an arm’s length, and that the top of the screen is at or below eye level.
Adjustable computer monitors can be expensive, sometimes running as high as $300-$400. While most new monitors can be mounted on adjustable stands, if you’re dead set on your existing monitor, you can always use books to prop your screen up to the right height.
Using a Footrest Can Help Support Your Sitting Weight and Improve Your Back Pain
If your desk is too high off the ground when seated, it can be difficult to properly set your feet on the ground. To properly support your sitting weight, your feet should be flat on the ground, with your legs at a 90-degree angle to the floor.
When your feet are too high from the ground, your body’s weight is not properly supported, and as a result, your posture can worsen, causing back and neck pain, as well as fatigue and decreased productivity. A footrest under your desk can also allow you to shift your weight more easily, taking the strain off of your lower back.
A study conducted by scientists from Ontario Technical University’s Health Sciences Department found that using a footrest that elevates the feet between 4-12 inches from the ground can help promote proper posture when paired with a standing desk.
Having your feet too high off the ground can also decrease the circulation of blood in your thighs, legs, and feet, and can cause a large amount of discomfort. A footrest props your feet up, improving circulation to the lower extremities, thus improving blood flow, and reducing the risk of blood clots and varicose veins.
Not using those books for your monitor? Use them for your feet!
What Tips Do You Have To Improve Your Back Pain?
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