A segment recently ran on Fox News about work-related back pain. Specifically Dr. Marc Siegel was speaking about how office chairs post a dangerous risk for the health of office workers.
For many office workers and those who have been suffering from persistent or chronic back pain for years, this claim should come as no surprise. Americans sit down an average of nine hours per day at work, plus an additional 2 to 4 hours of sitting in a car and several more hours of recreational sitting for meals and entertainment. That spells a lot of sitting, particularly when the bulk of that is done in an insufficient chair.
Dr. Siegel’s claim, that the chair is to blame is quite apt. Many Americans have poor posture, but it isn’t just your slouching that is problematic; it is also that office chairs don’t seem to be created with perfect posture in mind, do they? Most office chairs have headrests that push the head too far ahead of the spine, and those that claim to be ergonomically correct often place too much stress on the lumbar spine. This puts the spine in a ‘C’ position instead of the natural ‘S’ curve of the spine. This misaligned spine is responsible for plenty of back and elbow pain and even contributes to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Siegel makes several suggestions about how you can combat the effects a poor office chair has on your back. One that I found particularly interesting is to use a ‘bar stool’ style chair. These straight-backed stools force you to sit with good posture, whether it is your habit or not. It isn’t painful but it does take time to reacquaint your spine with how it should be sitting.
There are other types of office chairs that can improve posture; learn more when you watch this office chair review video.
Another option to consider is a standing desk. Of course standing for prolonged periods of time without a break can also have a negative impact on your back, but it has proven effective in relieving pressure on the lumbar spine.
In fact some medical experts believe that it isn’t just your back health at risk thanks to these unhelpful office chairs, but also your weight. Some believe that this prolonged sitting is contributing to the growing obesity epidemic in the United States.
It is believed that too much sitting will slow down your metabolism, which means that no matter how physically active you are. The lack of movement actually shuts down your metabolism stopping production of enzymes that get rid of fat. This flies in the face of conventional workout wisdom, which is why it is important to take breaks regularly.
Exercising regularly is fantastic because it helps keep your metabolism working all day long and gives you much-needed energy. But we now know that it just isn’t enough. You also need to take breaks and do so frequently throughout the day.
Even if you work in a tall office building where it takes 10 minutes to get outside, you need to find a way to give your butt a rest. Stand up whenever you don’t absolutely have to be sitting. When you take a phone call or need to read a report, stand up and get these tasks done. Take 5 or 10 minutes to stretch your muscles right in your office.
Unfortunately for most of us, not working isn’t an option. But neither is allowing a cheap office chair to ruin your health and back so the company can save a few bucks. So you can put in a request for a better quality chair and take at least one break each hour away from your desk.
Get the full scoop in the Fox News segment below.