Back pain from wrong way to sit at work.

It appears that many of us may be working from home over the next few months. For those that are new to having a home office, it is essential to have a proper work chair, or you will find yourself with a sore back in short order.

Spending 40 hours each week sitting in a chair can cause significant health issues. When you stay sitting all day, you do not get as much oxygen into your body. In a sitting position, our lungs do not entirely inflate. We also tend to slouch when we sit. Experts estimate we start slouching within three minutes. This causes problems with our shoulders and backs. It strains our ligaments, injures discs and joints, and pulls our back muscles because they are not meant to be in a slouched position. If you sit at a desk looking at a computer, there is an additional strain on your neck.  

Leg and glute muscles weaken, hip flexors shorten, and poor circulation can result in varicose veins, swollen ankles, and deep vein thrombosis. There is also plenty of research that connects prolonged periods of sitting to issues affecting the heart, lung, brain, pancreas, and the digestive system.

There are a few things we should consider doing to keep healthy. Every 30 minutes make a point to get up from your desk and walk around if even for just a couple minutes. When you are on the phone, stand up to get the circulation flowing. Consider purchasing a standing desk. Be conscious of how you sit so that you are not slouching. If you do need to sit for extended periods, buy a good chair.

The best-designed office chairs are ones that provide correct support of your posture, weight, and lumbar. These are called ergonomic chairs. Manufacturers make ergonomic chairs to accommodate a range of people. They have adjustable parts that can provide comfort for the body type of each user.

Well-designed ergonomic chairs support the lower back. They have adjustable lumbar support. The back of the chair should follow the shape of your spine and curve at the bottom. Higher is better when it comes to the best height for an office chair. If possible, get a chair with a back that is above your shoulder height. Without lumbar support, it is easy to strain your back. For those who have ever suffered from sciatica, you know how debilitating back strain can be. Proper back support is vital to prevent this condition.

The best office chairs should have at least five adjustments. The more, the better. Don’t opt for a chair with just height and arm adjustment. These are important, but not the ones that will keep you healthy. In addition to the lumbar support and arm width and height, a good chair will allow you to adjust back width and height, seat and back angle, and even tension control. Your feet should always rest flat on the floor. The armrests should be close to the body allowing your shoulder to relax. Property spaced armrests will also alleviate tension in your neck and upper body.

Select an office chair with a wheel. This will prevent strain from reaching for items across your desk. If you have a rug or carpet in your office, add a piece of plexiglass so that you can make use of the rollers. An office chair that swivels is also beneficial since it also reduces the amount of twisting and reaching, which is hard on the back.

An ergonomic chair for your home office is well worth its cost. In addition to its health benefits, studies show that they increase productivity and efficiency. Avoid back strain, leg problems, and carpal tunnel.

If you plan to work from your home office for the foreseeable future, contact me at furniture@solutionsmexico.com for some options and prices on ergonomic chairs.

Sheryl Novak

Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico — the online furniture store for your home in Mexico. She is considered the expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all sizes of budgets, in Mexico.