Is Your Office Chair Causing Back Problems?
Practicing proper posture, especially when sitting at a desk for hours at work, is important for the health of your back. One of the first things you should do is adjust your office chair to make sure it fits you correctly and is comfortable.
Adjusting your chair to fit your body correctly is not always easy, and if you experience pain in your back or hips, it may be improperly set. In this article, I’ve collected information on how to tell if your office chair is too high or if your back problems are stemming from something else.
Is your office chair too high and causing you back issues? An office chair may be considered too high if your feet do not rest flat on the ground when you are fully sitting. Improper seating like an office chair that is too high can result in back and hip pain. People tend to slouch or slump when sitting for prolonged periods, such as when they are at work, which can put added pressure on your neck, back, shoulders, arms, and legs.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to help adjust your current office chair for a better fit, or change to something different that will help relieve some of your back problems. If after you’ve tried to solve the chair issue and are still suffering from back issues, it may be time to talk with a doctor about other causes.
How To Tell If Your Desk Chair is Too High
In recent years, many desk/office workers have switched to standing desks and sitting on exercise balls to try and break up the stress that sitting can have on your body.
Both sitting for hours, as well as staring for hours, and typing for hours can take a toll on your body over time. Before we get into trying something new, let’s talk about fitting your chair correctly.
When fitting your chair for your body, you must first determine how you want your desk to be set up. The height of your monitor and where the keyboard rests can help determine how your chair should be set up.
Fitting Your Office Chair
Once you have created the space you desire, it’s time to fit the chair. There are five areas to measure when fitting your office chair:
- Elbow Rest: go ahead and sit up close, or where you would plan on sitting at your desk and rest your arms on your workstation – if your elbows aren’t sitting at a 90-degree angle, you need to adjust the height of the chair.
- Low Back Support: When sitting, be sure that your bottom is resting against the back of the chair, where there should be a cushion for lower lumbar support that arches your back (reducing slouching).
- Thigh Measure: you should be able to slide your fingers below your thighs at the very edge of your seat, if there is no room you should lower the chair, if there is too much room, you should raise the chair.
- Eye-Level Measure: close your eyes as you sit in your office chair, when you open them, you should be looking at the center of your desktop monitor, if it is higher or lower, you can adjust the chair if needed, or the height of the monitor if possible.
- Arm-Rest Setting: adjusting the height of the armrests on your chair is just as important as the overall height; the armrests should just slightly lift your shoulders – this helps take the weight off of your arms and spine, and makes you less likely to slouch.
By making these adjustments, you should hopefully have a perfectly fitted chair and you should start to see a difference in your back issues. If the back issues persist, there are a few things you can try to do instead.
Other Office Chair Options for Back Problems
As we mentioned before, people have found new objects to use and sit on throughout their workday to help keep their bodies moving and stress-free. The great thing about bringing in other options is that you can switch it up throughout the day!
For a little bit of movement throughout the day, try out an exercise ball. With an exercise ball as your desk chair, you will be able to practice good posture without back support and will use more of your leg muscles to maintain balance (which can be a good thing). Going with an exercise ball may be more comfortable, and you can even do small exercises throughout the day.
If you find yourself to be a little restless during work, try out a standing desk. There are many options to choose from such as permanently standing or desks that can be transformed into a standing position.
The benefits of using a standing desk are plenty: increased energy, higher productivity, lower your risk of disease, improved focus, and help you lose weight.
Proper adjustment does apply to standing desks as well – elbow and sight measurements are important to help relieve pressure on the body. You can also purchase a supportive mat to stand on that can help support your feet and back while working.
What If the Chair Isn’t the Problem?
After you have made all the necessary adjustments, tried out something new, and allowed a proper amount of time to pass and you are still experiencing back problems – there may be something else causing the issue.
Whether you have an existing back problem or it has sprung up recently, talking with your doctor should be the next step.
A doctor can run some tests for you to be sure you haven’t strained anything and that everything looks as it should. They will likely provide you with some exercises, medications, or other methods to try and fix the problem, or they will send you to a chiropractor for an adjustment.
Chiropractors are medically trained professionals who will use their hands or other special tools to apply a controlled force to a spinal joint. This process can be repeated multiple times and is designed to improve spinal motion and physical function. Spinal adjustments can also help alleviate headaches and neck issues, as a bonus.
Create the Right Working Space
The key to being productive and enjoying your work is having a comfortable and inspiring workplace. If you are experiencing back problems, lack of creativity, or are just hitting a wall, talk with your boss and see if you can work something out.
Most supervisors want their employees to be happy and comfortable when they are in the office, so they will be willing to work with you to find a solution.
Don’t let an ill-fitting chair cause you problems, make sure your space works for you so you can work for yourself!
How Much Do Ergonomic Office Chairs Cost?
Surprisingly, good-quality office chairs can be a bit expensive. Depending on the company you work for, they may provide you with your office equipment or you may need to invest in your own. When you do, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $2000.
I suggest talking with your supervisor before purchasing a chair, as you may be able to work out a deal. Also, do your research before investing – sometimes the most expensive chair isn’t the one that will be best for you.
How Much Do Standing Desks Cost?
As standing desks have increased in popularity in recent years, they have also increased in production – meaning you can find one for almost any price. Depending on the type of desk you are looking for, permanent vs. adjustable, automatic vs. manual, etc. you can find a standing desk for $150-$2000.
The same deal applies to standing desks as with ergonomic chairs – the most expensive may not always be the one that works best for you. Figure out what kind of space you have in your office, whether you want to stand all the time or have the option to sit, and then research from there.
How Much Do Spinal Adjustments Cost? Will Insurance Cover It?
Before going to the chiropractor, you should probably talk with your doctor. Your doctor can determine if there is anything structurally wrong that needs to be solved with a more involved procedure, or if the adjustment is a good option.
When going to the chiropractor, you can expect to pay between $65 and $80 for a full body adjustment – depending on where you live. Some insurance companies will cover a chiropractor visit, but potentially have a limit on the number of times you can go in a period. Call your insurance provider and talk with your doctor to see if it will be covered, most of the time there will be a minimum coverage available.